Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Durabaculum nindii

Blue Antler Orchid

Durabaculum nindii (W.Hill) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 488 (2002).

Dendrobium nindii W.Hill in Votes & Proc. Legis. Ass. Qd. Session 2: 871 (1874); Rep. Bris. Bot. Garden 7 (1874). Type: Australia, Queensland, Nind s.n. (holo BRI not found); Gap Creek, Bloomfield area, Mar. 1980, Scarth-Johnson 934A (neotype BRI).

Dendrobium tofftii F.M.Bailey, Syn. Queensl. Fl. Suppl. 3: 71-72 (1890). Type: Creek off the Johnstone River, 1887, A.G. Tofft s.n. (holo BRI; iso K, MEL).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from the McIlwraith Range to Innisfail.

Altitude: 5-400 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming tall slender clumps. Pseudobulbs stiffly erect, slender, cylindrical, middle slightly swollen, 50-250 cm x 3-4 cm, dark brownish to blackish, ribbed. Leaves 6-22, scattered along upper half of stem, prostrate, distichous, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina ovate, 8-15 cm x 6-8 cm, dark green, often concave, leathery, apex emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect to arching, 200-500 mm long, from upper nodes of stem; pedicels 35-45 mm long. Flowers 8-20, resupinate, erect to porrect, star-shaped, 50-60 mm x 50-60 mm, mauve or violet, especially labellum. Sepals and petals moderately fleshy, widely spreading, twisted. Dorsal sepal erect or recurved, oblong, 30-40 mm x 8-12 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, 30-40 mm x 14-18 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex downcurved. Petals strongly twisted, linear, 35-50 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum 40 mm x 40 mm, with 3 dark purple ridges; lateral lobes very large, sometimes undulate; midlobe short, undulate, apex truncate. Column 17-18 mm long. Column foot slightly curved, 27-29 mm long, at an obtuse angle to column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in a wide range of habitats. Along the coast it is found in rainforests and mangroves growing in hot humid conditions and in marginal swamps growing in trees and palms. Much of this coastal habitat has now been cleared. In the McIlwraith Range it grows in trees along stream banks, pushing further inland along low-altitude gorges. Its flowers are highly attractive and long-lived.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: July-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium nindii.

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