Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia linguiformis

Thumbnail Orchid, Tick Orchid

Dockrillia linguiformis (Sw.) Brieger, Schlechter Die Orchideen 3(1): 745 (1981).

Dendrobium linguiforme Sw., Kongl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handl. 21: 247 (1800); Callista linguiformis (Sw.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 655 (1891). Type: Port Jackson, New South Wales, J. White s.n. (holo SUNIV; iso LINN, W).

Dendrobium linguiforme var. huntianum Rupp, Austral. Orchid Rev. 7: 40 (1942). Type: Upper Brisbane River, June, T.E. Hunt s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in Queensland from Atherton Tableland to Townsville, and further south from Gympie to near Bega in New South Wales.

Altitude: 5-1100 m.

Also occurs in New Caledonia.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading mats. Stems creeping, appressed to host, much-branched, 0.3-0.4 cm thick, becoming yellowish, tough. Leaf terminal on stem, prostrate, sessile; lamina oblong to obovate, 2-4 cm x 1.2-1.5 cm, dark green, thick, fleshy, smooth, upper surface longitudinally furrowed, apex obtuse. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 60-150 mm long, from node near leaf base; pedicels 10 mm long, filiform. Flowers 6-20, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 7-9 mm x 8-13 mm, white with yellow callus. Sepals and petals not spreading widely, narrowly triangular, thin-textured. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, 18-22 mm x 3-4 mm, apex acuminate. Lateral sepals divergent, falcate, 18-22 mm x 4-5 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex acuminate. Petals obliquely erect, 16-20 mm x 2 mm, apex acuminate. Labellum curved, 5-6 mm x 4 mm, apex often curled, 3-lobed; lateral lobes small, obtuse; midlobe margins undulate, apex acuminate; upper surface with 3 undulate ridges. Column 2-3 mm long. Column foot 3-4 mm long, curved. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests, gullies, open forests and woodlands where it grows on trees, rocks and cliffs. A tough plant, it can survive in extremely exposed situations such as west-facing rocks and withstand drier conditions. The flowers are fragrant and pollinated by small native bees.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: June-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium linguiforme.

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