Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Grastidium luteocilium

Honey Orchid

Grastidium luteocilium (Rupp) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(78): 450 (1983).

Dendrobium luteocilium Rupp, North Queensland Naturalist 13(77): 1, t. (1945). Type: Babinda, North Queensland, 26 Oct. 1945, J.H. Wilkie s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on some Torres Strait islands and from the Iron Range to near Tully.

Altitude: 0-350 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming large, straggling clumps. Stems erect to pendulous, flattened, 30-200 cm x 1-1.5 cm, yellowish. Leaves scattered along stem, erect to pendulous, distichous, sessile, bases sheathing stem and covering node; lamina ovate, 8-12 cm long, 4-4.5 cm wide, yellowish green, leathery, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, emerging opposite a leaf; pedicels 9-12 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 1-2, in pairs, resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 17-20 mm x 17-20 mm, cream, dull yellow or greenish. Sepals and petals usually incurved, sometimes spreading for a few hours. Dorsal sepal linear, 20-25 mm x 6 mm. Lateral sepals linear, 14-18 mm x 5 mm. Petals linear, 13-17 mm x 5 mm. Labellum curved near the middle, 9 mm x 8 mm, bright yellow, banded inside, 3-lobed; lateral lobes rounded, glandular inside; midlobe triangular, with broad ridge and prominent central patch of yellow hairs. Column 4 mm long. Column foot straight, 3 mm long, at an obtuse angle to column. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing in sunny humid situations on rocks and high up in trees where it can grow into very large clumps. Plants growing in very bright light often become strongly bleached.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: Sporadic throughout the year.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium luteocilium.

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