Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Monanthos malbrownii

McIlwraith Hermit Orchid

Monanthos malbrownii (Dockrill) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 455 (1983).

Dendrobium malbrownii Dockrill, Austral. Pl. 4: 134 (1967). Type: McIlwraith Range Cape York Peninsula, 4 Mar.1967, M. Brown s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 300-600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small grass-like clumps. Stems crowded, semi-erect to arching, very thin, 10-30 cm x 0.1 cm, wiry. Leaves scattered along stem, erect, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem and enclosing node; lamina linear, 3-6 cm x 0.4 cm, dark green, apex deeply emarginate. Inflorescence single-flowered, emerging opposite a leaf. Flower solitary, resupinate, porrect, cupped, 6-7 mm x 7-8 mm, cream with purple and yellow labellum, shiny. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate, 3-3.5 mm x 2 mm. Lateral sepals broadly triangular, 3.5-4 mm x 4.5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals porrect, ovate, 3 mm x 1.5 mm. Labellum porrect, 5 mm x 2.5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes small, rounded; midlobe separated by a constriction, with 2 obscure ridges. Column 1 mm long. Column foot slightly curved, 4 mm long, at right-angles to the column. Capsule pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests at lower altitudes where it grows on trees, palms, fallen logs and rocks.

Restricted but locally common.

Flowering period: December-April.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium malbrownii.

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