Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Cestichis nugentiae

Large Sphinx Orchid

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

Liparis nugentiae F.M.Bailey, Bot. Bull. Dept. Agric. Queensland 14: 11 (1896). Type: Mountain range near Cairns, L.J. Nugent s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland near Cooktown to Eungella.

Altitude: 600-1400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming medium-sized to large dense clumps. Rhizome superficial. Pseudobulbs crowded, erect, ovoid to obovoid, laterally compressed and imbricate, 4-7 cm x 2.5-4 cm, dark green to yellowish green, fleshy, when young covered with 2 short leaf-like bracts. Leaves 2-4 per pseudobulb, erect, apical, sessile; lamina linear to lanceolate, 12-30 cm x 2-3 cm, thin-textured, dark green to yellow-green, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect to arching, 150-250 mm long; pedicels 5-15 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 8-20, resupinate, erect to porrect, star-shaped, 13-17 mm x 8-11 mm, greenish or pale yellow. Sepals and petals narrow, strongly reflexed, sometimes curled. Dorsal sepal free, linear, 8-12 mm x 1.5-2 mm. Lateral sepals free, linear, 8-12 mm x 1.5-2 mm. Petals linear, narrow, 8-12 mm x 1 mm. Labellum unlobed, broader than sepals and petals, strongly recurved from middle, rhomboidal when flattened, 13-16 mm x 7-9 mm, base channelled, with 2 flat orange bands, apex cut off square with small central point. Column incurved, 6-7 mm long, widest at base. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests where clouds and mists are frequent, growing on trees and less commonly on rocks.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: September-January.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Liparis nugentiae.

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