Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Grastidium cancroides

Crab Orchid

Grastidium cancroides (T.E.Hunt) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(78): 448 (1983).

Dendrobium cancroides T.E. Hunt, North Queensland Naturalist 14(83): 30-31, f. (1947). Type: Bellenden Ker Range, Oct. 1946, J.H. Wilkie s.n. (holo BRI).


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

Altitude: 0-600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Stems semi-erect to pendulous, flattened, 50-80 cm x 0.5-0.6 cm, widening towards apex. Leaves 8-14, scattered along upper half of stem, erect to prostrate, distichous, sessile, bases sheathing stem and covering node, warty; lamina ovate to obovate, 6-10 cm x 3-3.5 cm, dark green, margins often undulate apex acute to unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, emerging opposite a leaf; pedicels 5-6 mm long. Flowers 1-2, in pairs, resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 18-22 mm x 18-22 mm, reddish brown with yellow central area. Sepals and petals not opening widely, incurved, roughened or warty; petals often twisted. Dorsal sepal narrowly triangular, 12-15 mm x 3 mm. Lateral sepals narrowly triangular, falcate, 12-15 mm x 4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals linear, falcate, 12-15 mm x 1.5 mm, apex acuminate. Labellum curved, 10 mm x 5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes triangular; midlobe broadly triangular, with white basal ridge, margins with long white hairs. Column 3 mm long. Column foot slightly curved, 5 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests, especially growing on trees overhanging watercourses.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: December-May.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium cancroides.

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