Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Nervilia dallachyana

Hairy Shield Orchid

Nervilia dallachyana (Benth.) Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 39: 48 (1907).

Pogonia dallachyana Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 310 (1873). Type: Rockingham’s Bay, J. Dallachy s.n. (holo MEL).


Occurs in the northern parts of the Northern Territory and in Queensland from Cape York to Yeppoon.

Altitude: 0-250 m.

May also occur in New Guinea.


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, 1.5-3 cm wide. Leaf solitary, apical, prostrate, ground-hugging, orbicular, 6-10 cm wide, grey-green and hairy above, hairless and green or purplish beneath, with numerous ridged radiating veins, apex apiculate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 120-180 mm tall, fleshy; peduncle elongating in fruit. Flowers 1-4, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 40-50 mm x 35-45 mm, pink, purple or pale green with white and purple labellum. Sepals and petals widely spreading, linear to narrowly obovate. Dorsal sepal erect, 25-32 mm x 4-5 mm. Lateral sepals free, divergent, 25-32 mm x 5-6 mm. Petals widely spreading, 24-28 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum 18-23 mm x 15-20 mm, base white, apex purple with darker veins, 3-lobed; lateral lobes incurved; midlobe shallowly notched with broad flat or shallowly ridged hairless plate. Column 10-14 mm long, wider towards the tip. Column foot absent. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in open forests, rainforest margins and thickets of monsoonal rainforests. Plants from the Northern Territory have a much broader labellum than those from Queensland.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: November-December.

Name Changes

Until recently confused with Nervilia plicata, which is from India.

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