Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Blepharochilum macphersonii

Small Eyelash Orchid

Blepharochilum macphersonii M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 499 (2002).

Bulbophyllum purpurascens F.M.Bailey, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 1: 88 (1885), non Teijsm. & Binnend (1862); Osyricera purpurascens (F.M.Bailey) Deane in Fitzg., Austral. orch. 2(5): [t. 12] (1893); Bulbophyllum macphersonii Rupp, Victorian Naturalist 51: 81, f. (1934). Type: Growing on rocks between Herberton and Mourilyan Harbour, 2 May 1885, J.W.R. Stuart s.n. (lectotype BRI; isolectotype K, MEL), fide Clements (1989).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland where it is widely distributed between Big Tableland, south of Cooktown, and Rockhampton.

Altitude: 500-1400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming dense, congested clumps. Rhizomes creeping, closely appressed to host, branching. Pseudobulbs densely crowded, erect to suberect, alternate, globular, tiny, 0.1-0.2 cm x 0.1 cm, somewhat flattened, dark green. Leaf solitary on pseudobulb, apical, variable in shape; lamina linear, elliptical or ovate, 0.5-2 cm x 0.2-0.4 cm, dark green, deeply channelled, thick and fleshy. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 20-40 mm long emerging from base of pseudobulb, filiform. Flower solitary, non-resupinate, porrect, 8-12 mm x 8-12 mm, dark red to purplish red, rarely pink, green or white. Perianth segments spreading widely, sometimes recurved. Dorsal sepal free, deflexed, narrowly ovate, 4-6 mm x 1.5-2 mm, apex acuminate. Lateral sepals erect, fused along inner margins to form synsepalum, ovate, 4-6 mm x 2.5-3.5 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex unequally emarginate. Petals widely spreading, elliptic, 4.5-7 mm x 1.5-2 mm, margins denticulate to ciliate, apex filiform. Labellum tremulous, hinged to column foot by short claw, narrowly oblong to narrowly obovate, 4-6 mm x 0.6-0.8 mm; margins with long, fine hairs, those on the narrow basal part gland-tipped. Column 1.5 mm long, with 2 prominent stelidia, erect, apical. Column foot curved, at right-angles to the column. Capsules erect, asymmetric, dehiscent.


Grows on trees, shrubs, rocks and cliff faces in rainforests and sheltered areas of open forests, usually where there is unimpeded air movement.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: March-August.


Plants exposed to full sun take on reddish hues. The labellum is tremulous and trembles or vibrates in a light breeze.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Bulbophyllum macphersonii.

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