Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Oberonia attenuata

Mossman Fairy Orchid

Oberonia attenuata Dockrill, North Queensland Naturalist 29(126): 4, f. (1960). Type: North Queensland, Mossman River, 12 June 1960, A.W. Dockrill s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland in Mossman Gorge.

Altitude: 30-100 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small pendulous clumps. Leaves 4-7, scattered along stem, pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, in fan-like array, bases sheathing stem and imbricate; lamina subulate, falcate, 8-15 cm x 0.7-0.8 cm wide, dark green, thin-textured, apex acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, pendulous, 100-150 mm long; base with whorls of minute filiform bracts; pedicels 1 mm long, including ovary. Flowers numerous, in whorls of 4-6, non-resupinate, porrect, 1.6 mm wide, pale red-brown. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Sepals free, 0.5 mm x 0.2 mm. Petals linear, much narrower than sepals. Labellum 1 mm x 1 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes spreading, deeply emarginate; midlobe projected downwards, deeply emarginate. Column erect, 0.5 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Recorded as growing in a tree in lowland rainforest near a watercourse but it has not been found since the original collection despite frequent searching.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: May-September.

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