Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Crepidium lawleri

Small Spur Orchid

Crepidium lawleri (Lavarack & B.Gray) Szlach., Fragm. Flor. Geobot., Supp. 3: 128 (1995). Malaxis lawleri Lavarack & B.Gray, Orchadian 8(1): 6, f. (1984). Type: Cook District, near Rossville, 30 km south of Cooktown, June 1984, B. Gray 3378 (holo QRS).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland from Cooktown to Ayton.

Altitude: 100-150 m.


Terrestrial herb forming small colonies. Stems erect, ovoid to cylindrical, 2-8 cm x 0.5 cm, fleshy. Leaves 4-5, scattered along the stem, erect to prostrate, petiolate; lamina ovate or lanceolate, 2.5-4 cm x 1.5-2 cm, dark green, plicate, thin, 3 veins prominent, apex acute. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 50-100 mm tall, brittle; peduncle 4-sided, alate; pedicels 3-5 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 5-10, numerous, widely spaced, non-resupinate, porrect, 5.5-6.5 mm x 5-6 mm, greenish cream. Dorsal sepal decurved, narrowly oblong, falcate, 3-3.5 mm x 1.5 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals divergent, erect or slightly recurved, narrowly oblong, 3-3.5 mm x 2 mm, apex obtusely apiculate. Petals spreading or recurved, linear, falcate, 2.5-3.5 mm x 0.6 mm, apex acute. Labellum unlobed, horseshoe-shaped, 3.5-4 mm x 3.5-4 mm, with 6-8 teeth, 5-7 mm long; basal auricles triangular, apices obtuse. Column 1.5 mm long; 2 apical teeth extending marginally above anther. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in open forests and woodlands on the margins of swamps, growing in moist shady conditions. It is the smallest and rarest Australian member of the genus Crepidium. 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.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: December-February.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Malaxis lawleri.

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