Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Crepidium fontinale

Yellow Spur Orchid

Crepidium fontinale D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Austral. Orchid. Res. 5: 8-9, f.1.8, t. (21 Dec. 2006). Type: Northern Territory. Black Jungle, 25 Feb. 1982, G. Wightman 339 and C. Dunlop (holo DNA 21778; iso BRI, NSW).


Occurs in the north of Northern Territory including Bathurst Island.

Altitude: 20-100 m.


Terrestrial herb forming small colonies. Stems erect, ovoid, 4-6 cm x 0.8-1 cm, fleshy. Leaves 4-6, scattered along stem, erect to prostrate, petioles 8-15 mm long, bases sheathing stem; lamina ovate, 10-15 cm x 3-5 cm, with 5-7 prominent veins, thin, dark green, margins undulate, apex acute. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 100-300 mm long; peduncle 4-sided, alate, green, brittle. Flowers numerous, crowded, widely spreading, non-resupinate, porrect to semi-nodding, 8-10 mm x 9-11 mm, opening green, ageing to yellowish green. Dorsal sepal deflexed or recurved, oblong, 3-4 mm x 1-1.2 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, ovate, 3-4 mm x 2.5-2.8 mm, apex obtuse. Petals spreading to recurved, linear, 4-5 mm x 1 mm, margins recurved. Labellum unlobed, broadly elliptic to cordate, 6-7.5 mm x 6 mm, apex recurved; margins smooth; apex square or emarginate. Column straight, 1.5 mm long; wings broad, extending above anther. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent, winged.


Occurs in loose groups in dense monsoonal rainforests near seepage areas and springs where it grows in wet black loam, peat or sandy soil. It is found less commonly in woodland, growing in patches of accumulated leaf litter. The plants are dormant throughout the drier months of the year, with the fleshy stems often covered by leaf litter. The growth of new stems commences with the summer rains. The small flowers do not self-pollinate and are believed to be splash-pollinated by falling raindrops.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: January-February.

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