Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Nervilia uniflora

Red Shield Orchid

Nervilia uniflora (F.Muell.) Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 39: 48 (1907).

Pogonia uniflora F.Muell., Fragm. 5: 201 (1866). Type: Ad sinum Rockingham’s Bay, J. Dallachy s.n.(holo MEL).


Occurs in the northern parts of the Northern Territory and in north-eastern Queensland from Cooktown to Proserpine.

Altitude: 0-100 m.


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, ovoid, 1-2 cm wide. Leaf solitary, apical, prostrate, held well above ground, cordate, 2.5-3.5 cm wide, dark green above, reddish beneath, margins irregular, apex acute. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, single-flowered, 100-200 mm long, fleshy; peduncle elongating in fruit. Flower solitary, opening widely, resupinate, porrect to nodding, star-shaped, 25-30 mm x 25-30 mm, pink or mauve. Sepals and petals spreading widely. Dorsal sepal erect, narrowly lanceolate, 18-23 mm x 2.5-3 mm. Lateral sepals free, widely divergent, deflexed, narrowly lanceolate, 18-23 mm x 2.5-3 mm. Petals spreading, linear, 15-18 mm x 1.5-2 mm. Labellum 14-18 mm x 5-6 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect; midlobe sharply recurved, papillate, with densely papillate ridge. Column 6 cm long, wider towards apex. Column foot absent. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Forms large colonies in open forests, woodlands and among leaf litter in rainforests.


Flowering period: November-January.

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