Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Mobilabium hamatum


Mobilabium hamatum Rupp, North Queensland Naturalist 13(78): 2 (1946). Type: cult. Ipswich, South Queensland, T.E. Hunt ex Atherton Tablelands area, Aug.1945, T.E. Hunt s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland to Townsville.

Altitude: 600-1300 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming single growths or straggly clumps. Roots numerous, coarse, stiff, from nodes. Stems sparsely branched, erect to pendulous, 10-60 cm long, straggling when longer. Leaves 3-15, scattered along stem, widely spaced, prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina linear to oblong, 3-7 cm x 0.4-0.6 cm wide, yellowish green, stiff, leathery, margins revolute, apex uncinate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, porrect to arching, 30-60 mm long, emerging opposite a leaf; pedicels 2 mm long. Flowers 5-15, resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 6-7 mm x 6-7 mm, cream, pale green or brownish with purplish markings, fragrant. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, narrowly obovate, 3.5 mm x 1.5 mm. Lateral sepals free, widely divergent, oblong to obovate, 3.5 mm x 1.5 mm. Petals falcate, 3 mm x 0.8 mm. Labellum hinged, 1.2 mm long, with a few red or purple markings, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 1.7 mm x 1 mm, slightly incurved; midlobe 1.2 mm long, rounded, hollow, containing sticky nectar. Column slightly curved, 1.5 mm long. Column foot 0.8 mm long, at right-angles to column. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs at higher altitudes on ranges and tablelands. It favours situations of high humidity and bright light, and can be found growing on trees in rainforest, in vegetation along streams, on relict trees in paddocks, and along roadside verges. It is also seen colonising garden plants. Young plants are typically erect, but older plants often dangle from the host, attached by a few roots.

Locally common.

Flowering period: July-August.

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