Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Nervilia crociformis

Round Shield Orchid

Nervilia crociformis (Zoll. & Mor.) Seidenf., Dansk Bot. Arkiv 32(2): 151 (1978). Bolborchis crociformis Zoll. & Mor. in Moritzi, Syst. Verz. Pl. Zoll. 89 (1846). Type: Java, Tjikoya, among young coffee trees, 11 Oct. 1842, Zollinger 762 (holo W; iso P).

Coelogyne ? javanica Lindl., Fol. Orch. Coel. 17 (1854). Type: Java, near Tjikoya, 11 Oct. 1842, Zollinger s.n. (holo K).

Pogonia crispata Blume, Mus. Bot. 1: 32 (1849); Nervilia crispata (Blume) Schltr. ex Kraenzl. in Schum. & Laut., Fl. Schutzgeb. Sudsee 240 (1901). Type: Java, Bantam, Hasselt s.n. (holo BO?).

Nervilia fimbriata Schltr. in Schum. & Laut., Fl. Schutzgeb. Sudsee, Nachtrage 82 (1905). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelsland: Im humus der Walder bei Erimahafen, alt. c. 20 m, R. Schlechter 13795 (holo B).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on some Torres Strait islands, and from Cape York to Bloomfield River near Ayton.

Altitude: 0-100 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia, New Guinea and the Philippines.


Terrestrial herb forming clonal colonies. Sterile plants a solitary leaf only. Fertile plants initially a terminal inflorescence, a single leaf arising later from base of scape. Tubers solitary, fleshy, rounded, 1 cm wide. Leaf solitary, apical, prostrate, held above ground, orbicular, 4-7 cm wide, dark green, smooth, with 10 radiating veins, margins sinuate, apex obtuse. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 40-80 mm tall, fleshy; peduncle elongating in fruit. Flower solitary, resupinate, erect, star-shaped, 25-30 mm x 30-35 mm, green with white labellum. Sepals and petals spreading widely, narrowly lanceolate. Dorsal sepal erect, 16-19 mm x 2-2.5 mm. Lateral sepals free, divergent, deflexed, 16-19 mm x 2 mm. Petals falcate, 14-17 mm x 2-2.5 mm. Labellum 15-18 mm x 9-12.5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect; midlobe deeply fringed with 3 hairy ridges breaking up into small irregular hairy calli. Column 13 mm long, wider towards the tip. Column foot absent. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs on the edges of rainforests where it forms large sparse colonies. Each flower lasts 2-3 days.

Locally common.

Flowering period: November-December.

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