Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Geodorum densiflorum

Pink Shepherd's Crook

Geodorum densiflorum (Lam.) Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 4: 259 (1919).

Limodorum densiflorum Lam., Encyl. 3: 516 (1792); Type: Malabar Coast, [Anon] (holo, Rheede’s plate, Hort. Malab. 11: t. 35).

Malaxis cernua Willd., Sp. pl. 4: 93 (1805); Otandra cernua (Willd.) Salisb., Trans. Hort. Soc. 1: 298 (1812); Cistella cernua (Willd.) Blume, Bijdr. 7: 293 (1825); Ortmannia cernua (Willd.) Opiz, Flora 17: 592 (1834), non Link & Otto (1821). Type: Malabar Coast, [Anon] (holo, Rheede’s plate, Hort. Malab. 11: t. 35).

Cymbidium pictum R.Br., Prod. 331-332 (1810); Geodorum pictum (R.Br.) Lindl., Gen. sp. orchid. pl. 175 (1833), nom. illeg., non Link (1828). Type: (T.) v.v. [N. coast of New Holland, N.T., Dec. 1802-Mar. 1803, R. Brown s.n.] (lectotype BM), fide Clements (1989).

Geodorum fuscatum Lindl. in Edwards’s, Bot. Reg. 1835: t. 1687 (1835). Type: cult. Chiswick, July ex Ceylon, 1832, Watson s.n. (holo illus. t. 1687).

Geodorum semicristatum Lindl., Fol. orchid; Geod. 2 (1854). Type: Philippines, Cuming s.n (holo K-LINDL).

Geodorum pacificum Rolfe, Kew Bull. 71 (1908). Types: Polynesia: Vaua, Tonga Islands, C.S. Crosby s.n. (syn K); Solomon Islands, C.M. Woodford s.n. (syn K).

Geodorum neocaledonicum Kraenzl., Vierteljahrsschr. Naturf. Ges. Zurich 74: 82 (1929). Type: New Caledonia, pentes du Tiebaghi, Paagoumene, 12 Mar. 1925, A.Ü.Däniker 1384 (holo Z; iso Z).

Geodorum dilatatum R.Br. in W.Aiton & W.T.Aiton, Hort. Kew. (ed. 2) 5: 207 (1813).


Occurs in the Kimberley region in Western Australia, in the northern parts of Northern Territory and from Cape York, Queensland to the Mackay River, New South Wales.

Altitude: 0-1100 m.

Also distributed extensively throughout the Pacific, occuring in New Caledonia, New Guinea and Indonesia, and across South East Asia to Japan. It also occurs in Sri Lanka.


Terrestrial herb forming small clumps. Pseudobulbs crowded, subterranean to partially emergent, erect, ovoid, 3-5 cm x 2-3 cm, fleshy, often yellowish. Stem erect, 8 cm long, slender. Leaves 3-5, erect to prostrate, apical; petioles 2-8 cm long, enclosed in sheathing bracts forming a pseudostem; lamina ovate to lanceolate, 25-35 cm x 6-8 cm, dark green to yellowish, pleated, margins entire to undulate, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 200-300 mm tall, nodding in flower, erect in bud and at seed dispersal; pedicels 5-10 mm long. Flowers 8-20, crowded, resupinate, porrect to nodding, tubular to bell-shaped, 20 mm across, pale pink, rarely white. Sepals and petals not widely spreading. Dorsal sepal lanceolate, 12-15 mm x 3.5-4 mm. Lateral sepals free, lanceolate, 12-15 mm x 4 mm, exterior keeled, apex cymbiform. Petals similar to lateral sepals, 13-16 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum 13-15 mm x 10-12 mm, pink with dark red veins, obscurely 3-lobed; lateral lobes obliquely erect; midlobe concave, apex shallowly emarginate. Column 5-6 mm long. Column foot 1.5-2 mm long, nearly at right-angles to column. Capsules pendulous, obovoid, conspicuously ribbed, 2.5 cm long, dehiscent.


Occurs in a wide range of habitats including rainforests, monsoonal thickets, open forests, woodlands, heathlands and grasslands. It typically grows in well-drained soil, but can sometimes be found growing in swampy sites.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: December-February.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Geodorum pictum.

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