Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Davejonesia lichenastrum

Common Button Orchid

Davejonesia lichenastrum (F.Muell.) M.A.Clem., Orchadian 13(11): 487 (2002) (as ‘lichenastra’).

Bulbophyllum lichenastrum F.Muell., Fragm. 7: 60 (1869); Dendrobium lichenastrum (F.Muell.) Kraenzl. emen Dendrobium Dockrill, North Queensland Naturalist 24(115): 20 (1956), nom. sup.; Dockrillia lichenastrum (F.Muell.) Brieger, Schlechter Die Orchideen 3(1): 746 (1981), nom. inval.; Dendrobium lichenastrum (F.Muell.) Kraenzl. in Engler, Pflanzenreich Orch.-Mon.-Dendr. 1: 289 (1910). Type: In monte Seaview-Range, prope Rockingham’s Bay, Sep. 1868, J. Dallachy s.n. (holo MEL).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Mount Finnigan near Cooktown to Mackay.

Altitude: 5-1400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading mats. Rhizome creeping, appressed to host, branching, 1 mm thick, sheathed in papery bracts. Pseudobulb absent. Leaves prostrate, apical, alternate, petiolate; lamina ovate to obicular, 0.6-0.1 cm x 0.5-0.7 cm, dark green, fleshy, apex obtuse. Inflorescence axillary, single-flowered, from leaf base; pedicels to 15 mm long, thin. Flowers solitary, resupinate, erect, 4-5 mm x 4-7 mm, white, cream or pink with red stripes and prominent orange labellum. Sepals and petals spreading widely, thin-textured. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate, 4-5 mm x 2.5 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, triangular, 4-5 mm x 4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals much narrower than sepals, obliquely erect, linear, 4-5 mm x 0.5 mm, apex obtuse. Labellum straight or curved, oblong, 7 mm x 2 mm, fleshy, obtuse, obscurely lobed, basal margins thickened. Column short, 1 mm long, nearly straight, with 2 apical stelidia. Column foot curved, 3 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and humid situations in open forests, particularly at altitudes above 500 metres. It forms dense patches on rocks, boulders, cliff faces and trees. In exposed sites the leaves take on a reddish tint. The flowers last for only a few days and are pollinated by small native bees.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: Sporadic throughout the year.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium lichenastrum.

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