Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Cestichis angustilabris

Twisted Sphinx Orchid

Cestichis angustilabris (F.Muell.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 15(1): 38 (2005).

Sturmia angustilabris F.Muell., Fragm. 4: 164 (1864); Liparis angustilabris (F.Muell.) Blaxell, Telopea 1: 357 (1978).  Type: In montibus silvatisis ad sinum Rockingham’s Bay, J. Dallachy s.n. (holo K; iso BM).

Liparis cuneilabris F.Muell., Fragm. 4: 164 (1864); Liparis cuneilabris F.Muell. ex Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 273 (1873), nom. illeg.; Sturmia cuneilabris F.Muell. ex Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 273 (1873), nom. illeg.; Liparis reflexa (R.Br.) Lindl. var. cuneilabris (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Ridl., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 22: 287 (1886), nom. illeg.


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland to Mount Spec south of Ingham.

Altitude: 200-1100 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming dense clumps. Rhizome superficial. Pseudobulbs crowded, erect, ovoid, tapered, 3-6 cm x 2 cm, light green to dark green, thin, fleshy, when young covered with up to 5 short leaf-like bracts. Leaf solitary on pseudobulb, erect, apical, sessile; lamina linear, 10-30 cm x 1.5-2 cm, light green to dark green, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect to arching,15-25 cm long; pedicels 5-9 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 15-35, resupinate, erect to porrect, star-shaped, 6-8 mm x 2-3 mm, pale green to yellowish, translucent. Sepals and petals recurved against ovary, narrow, partially twisted. Dorsal sepal free, linear, 5-6 mm x 1.5 mm. Lateral sepals free, narrowly triangular, 5-6 mm x 2 mm. Petals linear, 5-6 mm x 0.8 mm. Labellum unlobed, broader than sepals and petals, strongly recurved from middle, 5-6 mm x 3 mm, emarginate or with small point, with 2 low yellow ridges extending to bend. Pollinia on end of column highly visible. Column 3-4 mm long, broader at base, curved forward at apex. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on trees and rocks, often near streams, and is more common at altitides above 800 metres. The flowers have an unpleasant scent and are pollinated by small flies and mosquitoes.

Locally common.

Flowering period: March-July.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Liparis angustilabris.

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