Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Bryobium eriaeoides

Brittle Urchin Orchid

Bryobium eriaeoides (F.M. Bailey) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 501 (2002).

Dendrobium eriaeoides F.M.Bailey, Syn. Queensl. fl. Suppl. 2: 56 (1888); Callista eriaeoides (F.M.Bailey) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 654 (1891); Eria eriaeoides (F.M.Bailey) Rolfe, Orchid Rev. 17: 95 (1909). Type: cult. Bowen Park, Queensland ex Johnstone River, Queensland, 9 Apr. 1908, T.L. Bancroft s.n. (holo BRI; iso K).

Eria diphylla Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 1: 663 (1914). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land: On trees in the forests on the upper Mudjene River, (Minjem District), alt. c. 200 m, Sep. 1907, R. Schlechter 16582 (holo B; iso AMES, E, K, L, NSW, S).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Iron Range to near Townsville.

Altitude: 20-1000 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming large, open clumps. Rhizomes creeping, well-developed, branched. Pseudobulbs widely spaced, erect, cylindrical, 6-10 cm x 1-1.4 cm, green, fleshy, covered by white papery bracts when young. Leaves 2 per pseudobulb, erect, apical, on petioles 2-3 cm long; lamina lanceolate to elliptic, 15-20 cm x 2-3 cm wide, bright green, thin-textured, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axiliary raceme, erect to arching, 30-50 mm long, pubescent throughout; pedicels 5 mm long. Flowers 3-12, resupinate, erect to porrect, remaining closed or cupped, 4 mm x 3 mm, white to purplish mauve. Sepals externally pubescent. Dorsal sepal free, erect to recurved, obovate, 3 mm x 2 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals broadly triangular, falcate, 3 mm x 2.5 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex obtuse to apiculate. Petals free, obovate, 3 mm x 1.5 mm. Labellum curved, 4 mm x 3.5 mm, mauve with white tip, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect; midlobe triangular, recurved, with 2 broad widely separated ridges. Column 1.5 mm long. Column foot 1.5-2.5 mm long, more or less in line with column. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in wet rainforests and in cloudforests at high elevations. It grows in well-lit humid situations, often close to streams, on rocks and trunks and branches of trees. The flowers rarely open fully and are self-pollinating, often not opening at all.

Widespread and locally common.

Flowering period: August-October.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Eria eriaeoides.

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