Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia bowmanii

Straggly Pencil Orchid

Dockrillia bowmanii (Benth.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Lasianthera 1: 17 (1996).

Dendrobium bowmanii Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 286 (1873). Type: Bersaker range and Port Cooper, Bowman s.n. (lectotype K; isolectotypes MEL, W).

Dendrobium striolatum var. chalandei Finet, Bull. Soc. Fr. 50: 380 (1903); Dendrobium chalandei (Finet) Kraenzl., Pflanzenreich Orch.-Mon.-Dendr. 1: 299 (1910). Type: New Caledonia, 12 Sep. 1884, Chalande s.n. (holo P).


Occurs from Forty Mile Scrub, south-west of Ravenshoe in Queensland, to the Clarence River in northern New South Wales.

Altitude: 5-800 m.

Also occurs in New Caledonia.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming pendulous clumps. Stems straggly, semi-pendulous, up to 60 cm long x 0.4 cm wide, sparsely branched, yellowing with age. Leaf terminal on stem, erect to pendulous, sessile; lamina terete, 5-15 cm x 0.4 cm, dark green, shallowly grooved, straight or curved, fleshy, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 100 mm long, from node near leaf base; peduncle 20-80 mm long; pedicels 10-20 mm long, filiform. Flowers 1-3 (often in pairs), non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 16-22 mm x 20-25 mm, pale green to yellowish green or brownish, sparsely striped with red-brown, labellum white, conspicuous. Sepals and petals widely spreading, often shiny. Dorsal sepal ovate, 9-12 mm x 4-5 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals divergent, oblong, 9-12 mm x 4-5 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex obtuse. Petals narrowly triangular, 9-12 mm x 3 mm, apex acute. Labellum larger than sepals and petals, projected downwards, 20 mm x 6 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, apex tooth-like; midlobe recurved, with crinkled margins and 3 parallel ridges. Column 7 mm long. Column foot 7 mm, more or less in line with column. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in drier types of rainforest, coastal scrub and littoral rainforest, growing on trees and rocks. The base of the plant is usually upright, with the stems pendulous and often tangled. Plants flower in sporadic flushes, with plants in a localised area flowering simultaneously.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: August-November and February-June.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium bowmanii.

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