Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids
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Habenaria macraithii

Whiskered Rein Orchid

Habenaria macraithii Lavarack, Orchadian 7(12): 278-9 (1984). Type: Cook District; Cape York Peninsula, Brown Creek near the crossing of the Portland Roads road, Sep. 1983, Australian Orchid Foundation 58 (holo BRI; iso BRI).

Distribution

Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland at two sites near Iron Range.

Altitude: 50-150 m.

Description

Terrestrial herb forming loose colonies. Leaves 7-11, scattered along the stem, widely spaced, prostrate, sessile, bases sheathing the stem; lamina lanceolate, 6-12 cm x 2-2.5 cm, bluish green, thin, 3 veins prominent, margins entire to undulate, apex acute to acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 300-600 mm long. Flowers 15-25, resupinate, porrect, hooded, 20-24 mm x 14-18 mm, green to grey-green. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, hooded, ovate, 10-13 mm x 4 mm, apex acute. Lateral sepals free, deflexed, narrowly ovate, 10-13 mm x 4 mm, apex recurved. Petals bilobed; upper lobes erect, narrowly triangular, falcate, 12-16 mm x 1-1.5 mm, with small basal auricle; lower lobes spreading, curved, 15-20 mm x 0.5 mm, filiform. Labellum deeply 3-lobed; lateral lobes at 20 to midlobe, filiform, 18-22 mm long, curved; midlobe linear, 15-18 mm long, apex apiculate. Spur deflexed, 18-22 mm x 1.5 mm, widened near the middle. Column very short. Column foot absent. Capsules erect, dehiscent.

Ecology

Occurs on levee banks in the overflow beds of streams, growing in sandy alluvium and leaf litter. It forms loose vegetative colonies. The flowers have no discernible fragrance.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: July-September.

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