Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia foederata

Mangrove Pencil Orchid

Dockrillia foederata (St.Cloud) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 446 (1983)

Dendrobium foederatum St. Cloud, North Queensland Naturalist 23(111): 2-4, f. (1955). Type: cult, Oct. 1954-Jan. 1955 ex Growing on Heritiera littoralis in mangrove swamp, Aeroglen, near Cairns, Sep. 1954, J. Dyson-Holland s.n. (holo QRS).


Occurs in far north-east Queensland at the mouth of Barron River near Cairns.

Altitude: 5-10 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming pendulous clumps. Stems sparsely branched, pendulous, 0.4 cm thick, hard. Leaf terminal on stem, pendulous, sessile; lamina terete or subterete, 8-12 cm x 0.4-0.5 cm, dark green, straight to slightly curved, not furrowed, fleshy. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 3-6 mm long, from node near leaf base; pedicels 5-10 mm long. Flowers 3-8, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 15 mm x 20 mm, white or cream with purplish markings on labellum. Sepals and petals widely spreading, slender, apices acuminate. Dorsal sepal linear, 8-11 mm x 2 mm, apex acute. Lateral sepals divergent, narrowly triangular, falcate, 8-11 mm x 3 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals linear, 7-10 mm x 1.5 mm. Labellum 12 mm x 4 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes acuminate, reddish purple; midlobe curved, margins crinkled. Column 2 mm long. Column foot 4 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


This plant is a rare natural hybrid between D. rigidum and D. calamiformis that was collected from mangrove swamps on the Barron River, much of which has now been cleared.

Flowering period: October-January.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium foederatum.

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