Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Microtatorchis clementsii

Fleshy Threadroot

Microtatorchis clementsii D.L.Jones & B.Gray, Orchadian 15(5): 201-202, f. (2006). Type: Queensland, Mount Windsor Tableland, 27 May 1989, D.L. Jones 4377, M.A. Clements and B. Gray (holo CANB 8913181).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on Mount Windsor Tableland and around Paluma.

Altitude: 1000-1250 m.


Leafless epiphytic herb, occuring as single plants only. Roots appressed to host, flattened, 2-4 cm x 0.1 cm, green. Stems unbranched, very short, 0.1 cm long. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 10-30 mm long, flowering progressively and increasing in length; peduncle filiform and hairless; rachis thick and fleshy, zig-zagged, with distichous bracts. Flowers 5-50, resupinate, erect to porrect, tubular, 1.5 mm x 1 mm, pale green, opening one at a time. Sepals and petals fleshy, fused in lower parts, spreading in upper half. Dorsal sepal ovate, 1.2 mm x 0.6 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals ovate, 1.6 mm x 0.6 mm. Petals sagittate, 1 mm x 0.6 mm, fused to sepals at the base, apex obtuse. Labellum unlobed, triangular, 1 mm long, concave, apex upturned, with filiform appendage; spur 0.6 mm long, globose. Column 0.7 mm long. Pollinia 2, 0.5 mm long. Capsules unknown.


Occurs in highland rainforests growing on trees, often near the tips of branches. The plants grow singly, never forming colonies. They have no leaves, but green roots which contain chlorophyll and carry out photosynthesis. The flowers, which each last 3-5 days, are produced in succession over many months, and a single inflorescence may display buds, open flowers and capsules at the same time.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: July-October.

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