Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Dockrillia sulphurea

Cape York Pencil Orchid

Dockrillia sulphurea D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Austral. Orchid Rev. 71(3): 15-16, f., t. (2006). Type: Queensland. Cook District. Flowered in cultivation 10 Aug. 2005 at Australian National Botanic Gardens, D.L. Jones 19236, originally collected from rockpile area near mouth of Pascoe River, Cape York Penisula, 13 Sept. 1983, D.L. Jones s.n. (holo CANB; iso BRI, NSW).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland from Cape York to the Pascoe River, north of the Iron Range.

Altitude: 5-150 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Stems pendulous, to 150 cm x 0.4 cm, straight, dark green to yellowish, branching outwards to form series of tiers. Leaf terminal on stem, pendulous, sessile; lamina terete, 10-35 cm x 0.4-0.6 cm wide, mid green, not grooved. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 35-55 mm long, from node near leaf base, wiry, spreading. Flowers 5-15, moderately crowded, non-resupinate, porrect, 20-35 mm x 35-45 mm, pale sulphur-yellow with numerous reddish central spots and short streaks. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Dorsal sepal erect to semi-erect, narrowly triangular, 20-25 mm x 2.5-3.5 mm. Lateral sepals widely divergent, oblong to lanceolate, tapering, 20-25 mm x 3-4 mm. Petals obliquely erect, linear, 20-25 mm x 1.5-2 mm. Labellum 20 mm x 7 mm, curved throughout, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, obtuse, heavily marked with red; midlobe broad, 4-5 mm wide, central margins strongly crinkled; apex acuminate; upper surface with 3 undulate ridges extending nearly to apex. Column 2-3 mm long. Column foot 4-6 mm long, slightly curved, in line with column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehisicent.


Grows on trees and boulders in rainforests, sheltered gullies and humid areas of open forests. The flowers are strongly scented.

Locally common.

Flowering period: August-November.

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