Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Carparomorchis baileyi

Fruit Fly Orchid

Carparomorchis baileyi (F.Muell.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 499 (2002).

Bulbophyllum baileyi F.Muell., Fragm. 9: 5 (1875); Phyllorchis baileyi (F.Muell.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 677 (1891). Type: cult. Brisbane ex Top of range Dalrymples Gap, Rockingham’s Bay, 1 Jan. 1875, F.M. Bailey s.n (holo MEL).

Bulbophyllum punctatum Fitzg., J. Bot. 21: 205 (1883); Phyllorchis punctata (Fitzg.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 677 (1891). Type: Cape York, North Australia, Jan., R.D. Fitzgerald s.n. (holo BM).

Bulbophyllum caryophyllum J.J.Sm., Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg (ser. 2) 13: 71 (1914). Type: cult. Bogor ex Niederl. Neu-Guinea: Am oberen Digoel, B. Branderhorst s.n. (holo BO; iso K).


Occurs on some Torres Strait islands and in north-eastern Queensland, where it is distributed from the top of Cape York Peninsula to near Townsville.

Altitude: 5-800 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia and New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading clumps. Rhizomes creeping, appressed to host, much branched, 4-6 mm wide, coarse, fibrous, covered with brown bracts. Pseudobulbs widely spaced, proximal half appressed to rhizome, curved, ovoid, 1.5-3 cm x 0.1-0.15 cm, pale green to yellowish green. Leaf solitary on pseudobulb, erect, apical; lamina oblong, ovate or obovate, 8-20 cm x 4-6 cm, pale green to yellowish green, thick, fleshy, apex emarginate. Inflorescence axillary, single-flowered, erect, 60-100 mm long, from rhizome nodes. Flower solitary (rarely 2-3), resupinate, erect, 20-25 mm x 20-40 mm, cream to creamy yellow with red or purple spots, rarely yellow and unspotted, ageing to pink, with a strong fruity perfume. Sepals and petals fleshy, erect, exterior of sepals frequently a different colour to interior, apices incurved. Dorsal sepal erect, narrowly triangular, 20-25 mm x 4-5 mm. Lateral sepals widely divergent, ovate to triangular, falcate, 20-25 mm x 6-7 mm, bases fused to column foot, apices distinctively upcurved. Petals spreading to incurved, narrowly ovate, 15-18 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum delicately hinged to the apex of the column foot, 5-6 mm x 3-3.5 mm, fleshy, curved, finely spotted, channelled at the base. Column porrect from the end of the ovary, 5-6 mm long; lateral wings prominent, toothed. Column foot, 3-4 mm long, at right-angles to the column. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Grows on trees, boulders and cliff faces in rainforests, in mangroves and in humid areas of open forests, often in exposed situations. It is particularly abundant in coastal lowlands, but also extends to the ranges and tablelands as well as some inland areas. The flowers last for 1-3 days, have a fruity fragrance and are pollinated by fruit flies which sometimes become trapped in the flower.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: October-February.


A common species that sometimes forms large masses.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Bulbophyllum baileyi.

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