Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Australorchis monophylla

Lily-of-the-Valley Orchid

Australorchis monophylla (F.Muell.) Brieger, Schlechter Die Orchideen 3(1): 741 (1981).

Dendrobium monophyllum F.Muell., Fragm. 1: 189 (1859); Callista monophylla (F.Muell.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 655 (1891). Type: In silvis ad sinum Moreton Bay, Oct.-Nov., W. Hill s.n. (holo MEL not found; lectotype W), fide Clements (1989).

Dendrobium tortile A.Cunn. in Edwards’s, Bot. Reg. 25: Misc. 33 (1839), nom. nud.; Callista tortilis (A.Cunn.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 655 (1891).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland and south along the coast to Grafton in northern New South Wales.

Altitude: 50-1000 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading clumps. Rhizome creeping, appressed to host, branched, thick, 0.5-1 cm wide. Pseudobulbs fairly closely spaced, erect, ovoid to conical, 6-12 cm x 2-3 cm, pale green to yellowish, furrowed, sheathed in brown papery bracts when young. Leaves 1-2 per pseudobulb, erect, apical, sessile; lamina oblong, 8-12 cm x 2.5-3 cm, bright green, thin-textured, tough, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 100-200 mm long; pedicels 5-10 mm long. Flowers 5-20, resupinate, nodding to drooping, campanulate, 6-8 mm across, yellow, waxy. Sepals and petals opening narrowly. Dorsal sepal free, ovate, 6-7 mm x 3 mm, apex acute. Lateral sepals broadly triangular, 4-5 x 4 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex acute. Petals narrowly obovate, 6-7 mm x 2 mm, apex acute. Labellum curved, 7 x 5 mm, obscurely 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, obtuse; midlobe short, obtuse with 2 ridges. Column 2-3 mm long. Column foot curved, 5-6 mm long. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Grows on trees, rocks, escarpments and cliff faces in open sites. In rainforests it grows on upper branches of trees where there is plenty of light and air movement. The rhizomes often grow in amongst and over each other, creating layered plants which form spreading clumps In the tropics it is found at higher altitudes, generally above 600 m, but further south where it is cooler it occurs in the lowlands. Flowering in the more southerly regions is restricted to spring. The flowers have a pleasant perfume and are insect-pollinated.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: August-December.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium monophyllum.

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