Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Octarrhena pusilla

Wispy Grub Orchid

Octarrhena pusilla (F.M.Bailey) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Phytologia 73(2): 118 (7 Oct.1992).

Oberonia pusilla F.M.Bailey in A. Meston, Votes Proc. Legis. Ass. Qd. 4: 1227 (1889) & Rep. Bellenden Kerr Exped. 23 (1889); Phreatia pusilla (F.M.Bailey) Rolfe, Orchid Rev. 11: 344 (1903), non (Blume) Lindl. (1830); Phreatia baileyana Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 9: 433 (1911); Octarrhena pusilla (F.M.Bailey) Dockrill, Austral. Indig. Orchids 1: 332 (1992 [1993?]), nom. illeg. Type: Bellenden-Ker at about 4,000 ft., herb. F.M. Bailey s.n. (holo K).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland to Paluma Range.

Altitude: 600-1400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming single growths or small clumps. Roots thin. Stems erect or curved, 2-4 cm long. Leaves 3-6, erect, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina terete, 1.5-3 cm x 0.2-0.25 cm wide, green to yellowish green, curved, fleshy, slightly grooved, apex acute to obtuse. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 10-30 mm long, filiform; pedicels 1.5 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 5-20, non-resupinate, porrect, cupped, 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm, cream to white. Sepals and petals widely spreading, apices obtuse. Dorsal sepal ovate, 0.8 mm x 0.6 mm. Lateral sepals free, 0.8 mm x 0.8 mm. Petals ovate, 0.6 mm x 0.5 mm, constricted near the apex. Labellum obovate, 0.5 mm x 0.4 mm, entire or obscurely lobed. Column 0.3 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in highland rainforests growing on rocks, mossy trunks and branches of trees. In favourable situations it forms localised colonies.

Locally common.

Flowering period: September-November.

Name Changes

Previously well known as Phreatia baileyana.

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