Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Eulophia zollingeri

Carrion Orchid

Eulophia zollingeri (Rchb.f.) J.J.Sm., Flore Buitenzorg 6: 228 (1905); Cyrtoptera zollingeri Rchb.f., Bonplandia 5: 38 (1857). Type: Java, Zollinger (holo W).

Cyrtoptera sanguinea Lindl., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 3: 32 (1858); Eulophia sanguinea (Lindl.) Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 8 (1890). Type: Sikkim, J.P. Hooker 223 (holo K-LINDL).

Eulophia macrorhiza Blume, Fl. Javae Orch. 155, t. 63, f. 2 (1859). Type: Java, C. Blume s.n. (holo ?BO).

Cyrtopera papuana Ridl., J. Bot. 24: 354 (1886); Eulophia papuana (Ridl.) J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 8: 26 (1909), non (Kraenzl.) Schltr. (1906); Eulophia macrorhiza var. papuana (Ridl.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 417 (1912). Type: New Guinea, Sogere, H.O. Forbes 391 (holo BM).

Eulophia carrii C.T.White, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 47: 82 (1936). Type: Julatten, North Queensland, T. Carr s.n. (holo BRI not found); Cooktown, edge of rainforest; granite, Dec. 1981, V. Scarth-Johnson 1286A (neotype BRI), fide Clements (1989).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland at several locations: near Cooktown; near Mossman; at Julatten and near Lake Eacham.

Altitude: 200-800 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, India and New Guinea.


Leafless terrestrial herb. Rhizome tuberous, 50-150 mm x 15-30 mm, fleshy. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 500-900 mm long, emerging from rhizome, fleshy, with pointed bracts, brownish. Flowers 6-40, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 40-50 mm x 50-60 mm, brownish or dark red-brown with dark red labellum, yellow on outside. Sepals and petals spreading widely. Dorsal sepal erect, incurved, obovate, 30-34 mm x 11-14 mm, apex acuminate. Lateral sepals free, horizontal, obovate, 32-36 mm x 10-13 mm, bases fused to column foot, apex acuminate. Petals projected forward or incurved, 20-23 mm x 8-10 mm, apex apiculate. Labellum quadrangular, 18-22 mm x 17-20 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes entire, erect; midlobe pointed, decurved, covered with short thick hairs; spur pouch-like. Column 10-12 mm long. Column foot incurved, 3.5-4 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and rainforest margins where there is wood in suitable stage of decay, such as rotting stumps, fallen trees and logs. The leafless inflorescence appears above ground in the wet season but rarely seen. The flowers have a pungent unpleasant scent.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: December-February.

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