Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia calamiformis

Northern Pencil Orchid

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

Dendrobium calamiforme Lodd. in Edwards’s, Bot. Reg. 27: Misc. 9, no. 26 (1841). Type: cult. ex New Holland, Loddiges s.n. (lectotype K-LINDL), fide Clements (1989).

Dendrobium baseyanum St.Cloud, North Queensland Naturalist 23(110): 1-2, f. (1955); Dockrillia baseyana (St.Cloud) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 446 (1983). Type: Kings Plains, North Queensland, F.L Basey s.n. (QRS).

Dendrobium teretifolium var. fasciculatum Rupp, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 60: 157, t. 4 (1935). Type: North Queensland, Cairns?, Aug. 1934, Tierney and H. Flecker s.n. (holo NSW)

Dendrobium teretifolium var. album C.T.White, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 47: 82 (1936). Type: cult., 6 Oct. 1933, B.D. Grimes ex Mount Spec, North Queensland, B.D. Grimes s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Iron Range to Paluma, south of Ingham.

Altitude: 5-1200 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming pendulous clumps. Aerial roots absent. Stems pendulous, to 200 cm x 0.4 cm wide, dark green to yellowish, straight, branching outwards to form series of tiers. Leaf terminal on stem, pendulous, sessile; lamina terete, 10-40 cm x 0.4-0.8 cm, dark green, robust, fleshy, not grooved, apex acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, stiffly erect, 50-80 mm long, from node near leaf base; pedicels 10 mm long. Flowers 5-12, crowded, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 15-20 mm x 20-25 mm, white to cream with a few central purplish stripes, fragrant. Sepals and petals vary from hardly to widely spreading. Dorsal sepal narrowly triangular, obliquely erect, 20-25 mm x 3 mm. Lateral sepals similar to dorsal sepal, 20-25 mm x 4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals obliquely erect, linear, 17-21 mm x 1 mm. Labellum curved, 20 mm x 5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, obtuse, with some purplish spotting; midlobe narrow, 3-3.5 mm wide, apex caudate; upper surface with 3 undulate ridges. Column 2-3 mm long. Column foot 4-6 mm long, slightly curved, in line with column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and open forests in humid areas growing on trees and rocks and cliffs. It is also found colonising street trees and trees in paddocks, parks, and gardens. In areas close to the coast it tends to form large pendulous clumps. The flowers are fragrant and pollinated by small bees.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: August-November.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium calamiforme and Dendrobium teretifolium var. fasciculatum.

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