Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Leioanthum bifalce

Native Bee Orchid

Leioanthum bifalce (Lindl.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 490 (2002).

Dendrobium bifalce Lindl., London J. Bot. 2: 237 (1843); Doritis bifalcis (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Xenia Orchid 2: 7 (1874); Callista bifalcis (Lindl.) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 654 (1891); Sayeria bifalcis (Lindl.) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 466 (1983). Type: New Guinea, Hind s.n. (holo K-LINDL).

Dendrobium breviracemosum F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agric. J. 3: 158-9 (1898). Type: Douglas Harbour, New Guinea, May 1898, F.M. Bailey 17 (holo BRI; iso K).

Dendrobium chloropterum var. striatum J.J.Sm., Nova Guinea 8: 64 (1901). Types: Dutch New Guinea: Southern New Guinea near Okaba, Aug. and Oct. 1907, Brandenhorst 30 and 118 (syn BO); Merauke, 1904-05, Koch s.n. (syn BO).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on some Torres Strait islands and from Cape York to the Daintree River.

Altitude: 0-500 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia and New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small to medium-sized clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, fusiform, 20-40 cm x 2-2.5 cm, yellowish or purplish, narrow at the base, hard, furrowed. Leaves 2-4, erect to prostrate, apical, distichous, sessile, base not sheathing stem; lamina ovate, 10-15 cm x 4-5 cm, dark green to yellowish, leathery, apex acute to unequally emarginate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, stiffly erect, 150-200 mm long, from apical nodes on pseudobulb; pedicels 10-20 mm long. Flowers 5-10, resupinate, erect to porrect, star-shaped, 25-30 mm x 25-30 mm, clustered toward inflorescence apex, pale green or greenish yellow with purple-brown stripes and spots. Sepals and petals widely spreading, broad, overlapping, fleshy. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate, 8-10 mm x 7 mm. Lateral sepals widely divergent, ovate, 9-11 mm x 7-8 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals obliquely erect, lanceolate, 8-10 mm x 4 mm. Labellum 12 mm x 8 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes triangular, erect; midlobe decurved, with deeply grooved warty ridge, constricted at the middle, apex emarginate. Column 3 mm long. Column foot elongate, curved, 10 mm long, almost at right-angles to column. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests in brightly lit, humid situations growing on trees and boulders. Plants are often bleached yellowish green by the sun.

Locally common.

Flowering period: April-July.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium bifalce.

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