Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dipodium pandanum

Climbing Hyacinth Orchid

Dipodium pandanum F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agric. J. 6: 287, t. 187, 188 (1900). Type: New Guinea; Near Samarai, W.E. Armit s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on Iron Range and McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 200-400 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Terrestrial or epiphytic herb with climbing habit. Stems leafy, erect, spirally twisted, 300-500 cm long, brittle, older parts covered with dry leaf bases, with aerial roots from nodes. Leaves scattered along stem, crowded, erect to prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases imbricate; lamina linear to lanceolate, tapered, 20-50 cm x 3-4.5 cm, curved, deeply channelled, thin-textured but tough, apex acuminate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 200-600 mm long; pedicels 25-40 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 5-25, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 30-40 mm wide, creamy white with dark red blotches on exterior. Sepals and petals narrowly obovate. Dorsal sepal 20-25 mm x 5-7 mm. Lateral sepals widely divergent, 20-25 mm x 5-7 mm. Petals 20-25 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum projecting forwards, 15-20 mm x 6-8 mm, cream or pink with 4-6 red stripes, 3-lobed; lateral lobes falcate, 3 mm x 1 mm; midlobe covered with fine hairs, margins decurved. Column 8-10 mm long, broadest at apex, anterior surface pubescent near base. Column foot absent. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests, climbing up trees and sometimes forming thickets. It is a true climbing epiphyte with stems spiralling up trees or rocks and supported by wiry roots. Plants spread vegetatively when old, leafless stems break off and fall to forest floor, where they develop a new shoot and grow through the leaf litter, eventually ascending a rock or tree.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: July-December.

Name Changes

Sometimes confused with Dipodium pictum from Indonesia.

More about Dipodium