Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia nugentii

Northern Thumbnail Orchid

Dockrillia nugentii (F.M.Bailey) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Lasianthera 1: 18 (1996).

Dendrobium linguiforme var. nugentii F.M.Bailey, Queensl. fl. 6: 1533 (1902); Dendrobium nugentii (F.M.Bailey) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Austral. Orch. Res. 1: 58 (1989). Type: Eungella Range, Aug-Sep. 1894, L.J. Nugent s.n. (holo BRI; iso K).


Occurs in Queensland from Mount Finnigan, near Cooktown, to Kroombit Tops, south-west of Gladstone.

Altitude: 600-1000 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading mats. Stems creeping, appressed to host, much-branched, 0.4 cm thick, becoming yellowish. Leaf terminal on stem, prostrate, sessile; lamina oblong to orbicular, 3-4.5 cm x 1.5-2 cm, dark green, thick, fleshy, furrowed, sandpapery. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 60-150 mm long, from node near leaf base, the flowers often on one side; pedicels 10 mm long, filiform. Flowers 6-15, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 6-8 mm x 6-9 mm, cream, quickly ageing yellowish, bronze or brownish. Sepals and petals not spreading widely, narrow, apices obtuse, thin-textured. Dorsal sepal narrowly triangular, 12-16 mm x 3-4 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, narrowly triangular, falcate, 12-16 mm x 4-5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals linear, 12-14 mm x 2 mm. Labellum 4.5 mm x 3 mm, curved, 3-lobed; lateral lobes small, obtuse; midlobe margins undulate, apex apiculate; upper surface with 3 widely separated ridges. Column 2-3 mm long. Column foot 3-4 mm long, curved. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests, open forests and woodlands growing on rocks and trees. It is also found colonising street trees and trees in paddocks, parks, and gardens. The flowers are fragrant and pollinated by small native bees.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: June-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as both Dendrobium nugentii and Dockrillia nugentii.

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