Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids
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Appendicula australiensis

Native Stream Orchid

Appendicula australiensis (F.M.Bailey) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 336 (1911) (as australis).

Eria australiensis F.M.Bailey, Occas. Pap. Queensl. fl. 1: 8 (1886); Podochilus australiensis (F.M.Bailey) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 3: 316 (1907); Appendicula australiensis (F.M.Bailey) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Phytologia 73(2): 118 (1992), isonym. Type: Queensland, Johnstone River, T.L. Bancroft s.n. (holo BRI).

Distribution

Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from the McIlwraith Range to Tully River.

Altitude: 0-700 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.

Description

Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming sparse fern-like clumps. Stems erect, pendulous when longer, unbranched, slightly flattened, 20-60 cm x 0.3 cm, covered with old grey leaf bases. Leaves scattered along stem, erect to prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, twisted near base, bases sheathing stem; lamina ovate to elliptic, 3-4.5 cm x 1-1.5 cm, dark green, glossy, thin-textured, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, condensed, 10-15 mm long, few to many along upper half of stem. Flowers in clusters of 2-6, crowded, resupinate, porrect, 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm, dull white or greenish cream with green labellum, opening sequentially in a spiral. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Dorsal sepal free, porrect to recurved, broadly triangular, 2.5 mm x 1.5 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals broadly triangular, 2.5 mm x 2 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals ovate, 2 mm x 1 mm, apex obtuse. Labellum unlobed, fused to column foot, decurved, 2 mm x 1.2 mm, with deep spur at the base. Column 1.5 mm long. Column foot 1 mm long. Capsules small, porrect, glabrous, dehiscent.

Ecology

Occurs in lowland rainforests and grows in humid situations, often on rainforest trees overhanging streams. It is also found growing on rotting logs, rocks and boulders in humid gullies and beside streams.

Locally common.

Flowering period: March-June.

Name Changes

Also known as Podochilus australiensis for a substantial period.

More about Appendicula