Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Habenaria hymenophylla

Coastal Rein Orchid

Habenaria hymenophylla Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 9: 212 (1911). Type: Nord-Australien: Bei Port Darwin, 1888, M. Holtze 799 (holo B).


Occurs in the Northern Territory on Melville Island, in Arnhem Land and areas near Darwin. In Queensland it is found in Weipa, Iron Range and disjunctly from Ingham to Rockhampton.

Altitude: 0-200 m.


Terrestrial herb forming loose colonies. Leaves 6-8, scattered along the stem, lower leaves reduced to bracts, erect to prostrate, sessile, bases sheathing the stem; lamina ovate to elliptic, 3-6 cm x 3-3.5 cm, thin-textured, margins entire to undulate, apex acute to apiculate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 25-40 cm long. Flowers 20-30, resupinate, porrect, hooded, 15-18 mm x 10-13 mm, green and white. Dorsal sepal incurved, hooded, broadly ovate, 4.5-5 mm x 4.5-5 mm. Lateral sepals free, deflexed, 4.5-5 mm x 3.5-4 mm, margins incurved. Petals divided into 2 lobes; upper lobe 6 mm x 1.5 mm; lower lobe 3 mm long, incurved. Labellum 3-lobed; lateral lobes at 30 to midlobe, filiform, 6-7 mm x 0.5 mm, curved; midlobe linear, 6-7.5 mm x 1 mm, deflexed or incurved. Spur 11-13 mm long, curved, apex widened. Column 3.5 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in monsoonal rainforests, often near the coast, in situations of filtered light. It forms vegetative colonies, growing in accumulations of leaf litter in well-drained sandy loam or laterite. The flowers have an unpleasant odour late in the day.

Widespread but localised.

Flowering period: October-April.

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