Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia racemosa

Erect Pencil Orchid

Dockrillia racemosa (Nicholls) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 446 (1983).

Dendrobium beckleri var. racemosum Nicholls, North Queensland Naturalist 4(45): 35, f. (1936); Dendrobium racemosum (Nicholls) Clemesha & Dockrill, Orchadian 1(5): 52-4, f. (1964). Type: Cairns, Sep. 1935, H.G. Henson s.n. (holo MEL).


Occurs in two discrete areas in north-eastern Queensland, predominantly at higher altitudes on the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands, but also at lower altitudes along the coast, from the Russell River to the Johnstone River near Innisfail.

Altitude: 100-200 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming upright to straggly slender clumps. Stems erect to semi-pendulous, sparsely branched, 20-100 cm x 0.4-0.6 cm, tough, yellowish. Leaf terminal on stem, erect to pendulous, sessile; lamina terete, 8-20 cm x 0.8-1.2 cm, dark green, fleshy, shallowly grooved, apex obtuse. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 40-80 mm long, from node near leaf base; pedicels 15 mm long. Flowers 8-15, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 18-22 mm x 20-25 mm, cream to pale yellow with mauve anther. Sepals and petals recurving with age. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, narrowly triangular, 20-25 mm x 2 mm, apex recurved. Lateral sepals divergent, narrowly triangular, 20-25 mm x 2 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals divergent, linear, 20-25 mm x 1 mm. Labellum projected downwards, curved, 20 mm x 6 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes small, crescent-shaped; midlobe narrow, margins undulate or crinkled, apex caudate, 5 mm long, recurved or coiled; upper surface with 3 undulate ridges. Column 3 mm long. Column foot 5 mm long, almost in line with column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Grows in higher altitudes on trees in exposed situations, usually on the lower branches and lower positions on the trunk. In lowland rainforests it occurs on the upper branches of tall trees. Young plants are erect but older plants tend to be straggly or pendulous in habit.

Locally common.

Flowering period: September-October.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium racemosum.

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