Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia rigida

Smooth Tick Orchid, Smooth Tongue Orchid

Dockrillia rigida (R.Br.) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 447 (1983).

Dendrobium rigidum R.Br., Prod. 333 (1810); Callista rigida (R.Br.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 655 (1891). Type: (T.) B. v. desc. et ic. pict. [Tropical Australia, R. Brown s.n.] (icon. BM).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on some Torres Strait islands, and from Cape York to the Russell River near Cairns.

Altitude: 5-250 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Stems pendulous, 1-3 cm x 0.3 cm, wiry, yellowing with age. Leaf terminal on stem, prostrate to pendulous, sessile; lamina asymmetric, obovate to ovate, 3-6 cm x 1.5 cm, dark green, often with reddish tints, thick, fleshy, smooth, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 10-30 mm long, from node near leaf base; pedicels 5-12 mm long. Flowers 2-7, crowded, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 9-12 mm x 12-15 mm, cream or creamy yellow, often with pink or red on the underside. Sepals and petals widely spreading, bases overlapping, sepals much broader than petals. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate, 7-9 mm x 4.5 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, triangular, 7-9 x 5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals obliquely erect, narrowly ovate, 7-9 mm x 2 mm. Labellum curved, c. 10 mm x 7 mm, yellow with red or orange markings, 3-lobed; lateral lobes curved, apex acuminate. Column 3 mm long. Column foot curved, 3-4 mm long, at an obtuse angle to column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in coastal rainforests, mangroves, paperbark swamps, stream banks and monsoon thickets, growing on rough-barked shrubs and trees, and occasionally on rocks.

Locally common.

Flowering period: Sporadic throughout the year.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium rigidum.

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