Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Cestichis bracteata

Yellow Sphinx Orchid

Cestichis bracteata (T.E.Hunt) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 15(1): 38 (2005). Liparis bracteata T.E.Hunt, North Queensland Naturalist 14(81): 9, f. (1946). Type: Mt. Bartle Frere, Sep. 1946, J.H. Wilkie s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland at higher altitudes from Mount Finnigan to Tully Falls.

Altitude: 1000-1600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming medium-sized to large dense clumps. Rhizome superficial. Pseudobulbs crowded, erect, conical, 3-5 cm x 2-2.5 cm, dark green, smooth, when young covered with 4 short leaf-like bracts. Leaves 2 per pseudobulb, erect, apical, sessile; lamina linear to lanceolate, 15-25 cm x 1-1.5 cm, dark green, midrib keeled beneath, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 100-200 mm long, with 10-15 prominent sterile bracts; pedicels 10-15 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 7-12, resupinate, erect to porrect, star-shaped, 8-13 mm x 7-10 mm, pale green aging to yellow. Sepals and petals narrow. Dorsal sepal free erect to decurved, linear to subulate, 8-10 mm x 2 mm. Lateral sepals free, decurved, linear to subulate, 8-10 mm x 2 mm. Petals decurved, linear, 8-10 mm x 1 mm. Labellum unlobed, broader than sepals and petals, strongly recurved from middle, 7-9 mm x 3-4 mm, shallowly emarginate, with 2 green fused basal calli and 2 parallel yellow to orange ridges, 2 mm long. Column 4-5 mm long, curved forward slightly at apex. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on trees and rocks on slopes, gullies and ridges.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: July-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Liparis bracteata.

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