Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Anoectochilus yatesiae

Marbled Jewel Orchid

Anoectochilus yatesiae F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agric. J. 19: 148 (1907). Type: Near Kuranda, July 1907, A. Yates s.n. (lectotype BRI), fide Clements (1989).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from the Bloomfield River to Paluma Range.

Altitude: 500-1200 m.


Terrestrial herb forming small loose groups. Rhizomes above ground, creeping, cylindrical, 2-4 mm wide, succulent. Roots long, wiry, covered densely in white root hairs. Stem erect, apical, 2-6 cm x 0.2-0.3 cm, fleshy, brittle. Leaves 2-6 per stem, terminal, prostrate, forming a rosette or whorl around stem, petiole to 10 mm long, bases sheathing stem; lamina broadly ovate to cordate, 3-6 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, dark green or coppery with conspicuous silvery venation, thin, apex acute. Inflorescence a terminal spike, erect, 150-250 mm long, fleshy, brittle, hairy. Flowers 1-4, resupinate, porrect, 14-18 mm x 18-22 mm, dull brown, greenish brown and white, often opening reluctantly. Sepals externally hirsute. Dorsal sepal porrect, hooded, forming galea with petals, 10-12 mm x 4-5 mm, apex cymbiform. Lateral sepals free, divergent, oblong to narrowly ovate, 10-12 mm x 3 mm, sometimes spreading widely. Petals asymmetric, 8-10 mm x 2-2.5 mm, hairless, white. Labellum erect, 12-15 mm x 2-3 mm, white, with a section of 12 coarse white crooked hairs, 4-7 mm long, fringing the margin near the apex. Spur 5 mm x 2 mm, with 2 large calli. Column 3-4 mm long, with a rostellum 5 mm long above it; column wings large and prominent. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, hirsute, dehiscent.


Often found growing on mossy rocks close to small streams and in shady areas high in humidity. It is restricted to highland rainforests and is frequently difficult to detect in the gloom of the rainforest floor. The leaves are beautifully patterned with a network of silvery veins against a dark green background. Flowering occurs in the dry months of the year and the flowers are self-pollinating. Reproduction is only achieved from seed, with seed dispersal occuring 3-4 months after flowering.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: July-September.

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