Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids
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Dockrillia wassellii

Furrowed Pencil Orchid

Dockrillia wassellii (S.T.Blake) Brieger, Schlechter Die Orchideen 3(1): 745 (1981) (sic wasseltii).

Dendrobium wassellii S.T.Blake, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 73: 66 (1963). Type: cult. Brisbane, May-June 1959, C. Thomson ex Queensland.-Cook District: Rocky Creek, about N. of Coen, L.J. Wassell ex S.T. Blake 20560A (holo BRI).

Distribution

Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on the Iron and McIlwraith Ranges.

Altitude: 100-400 m.

Description

Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming spreading mats or slender strands. Stems creeping, much-branched, 0.4-0.5 cm thick, tough, often yellowish. Leaf terminal on stem, stiffly erect, sessile; lamina subterete, 5-12 cm x 0.8-1 cm, dull green, hard, with 5 longitudinal furrows. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 100-200 mm long; pedicels 8-11 mm long, filiform. Flowers 10-60, densely crowded, non-resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 14-18 mm x 15-20 mm, crystalline white with yellow labellum. Sepals and petals widely spreading, tips often recurved. Dorsal sepal erect to recurved, linear, 10-14 mm x 1.5 mm. Lateral sepals linear, falcate, 10-14 mm x 2 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals porrect, incurved, linear, 12-16 mm x 1 mm, sometimes crossing. Labellum curved, 10-12 mm x 3.5 mm, yellow with purple spots and stripes, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, apex obtuse; midlobe with 3 ridges, margins undulate, apex acuminate. Column 1.5 mm long. Column foot slightly curved, 2.5 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.

Ecology

Occurs in monsoonal rainforests, along stream banks and on humid slopes, where it grows on the upper branches of trees reaching above the forest canopy, particularly Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii).

Locally common.

Flowering period: May-June.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium wassellii.

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