Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Pachystoma pubescens

Pink Kunai Orchid

Pachystoma pubescens Blume, Bijdr. 6: t. 3, f. 29; 8: 376 (1825); Pachychilus pubescens Blume, Mus. Bot. 2: 173 (1856), nom. illeg. Type: In graminosis prope Tjiradjas Provinciae Krawang, [Java], June-Aug., C. Blume 1529 (holo L).

Apaturia senilis Lindl., Wall. Cat. n. 3739 (1828), nom. nud.; Lindl., Gen. sp. orchid. pl. 130 (1830); Pachystoma senile (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Bonplandia 3: 250 (1855). Type: In montibus Sillet, H. Bruce ex N. Wallich 3739 (lectotype K-LINDL; isolectotype K-WALL), fide Clements (1989); Syntypes: In Uligapur et Kaliguag, W. Hamilton(K, K-LINDL, K-WALL).

Apaturia smithiana Lindl., Gen. sp. orchid. pl. 130 (1830); Pachystoma smithiana (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Bonplandia 3: 250 (1855). Type: Kudjurea-ghaut in regno Oude, 1825, N. Wallich 3737 (holo K-LINDL; iso K-WALL).

Apaturia montana Lindl., Gen. sp. orchid. pl. 131 (1830); Pachystoma montanum (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Bonplandia 3: 250 (1855). Type: Ceylon, in monte Nuera Elli, MacRae 669 (holo K-LINDL).

Apaturia lindleyana Wight, Icon. Pl. Ind. Orient 3, 1662 (1851); Pachystoma lindleyana (Lindl.) Rchb.f., Bonplandia 3: 250 (1855). Type: Coorg, Munnuri India, Jerdon s.n. (holo K-LINDL; icon K).

Pachychilus pantanus Blume, Mus. Bot. 2: 173 (1856). Type: In Borneo Padong Pantam locis apertis graminosis, Korths s.n. (holo BO?, iso K).

Pachystoma malabaricum Rchb.f. in Walp., Ann. bot. syst. 6: 462 (1862). Type: Malabar, Jerdon s.n. (holo W).

Pachystoma edgeworthii Rchb.f. in Walp., Ann. bot. syst. 6: 463 (1862). Type: Khadia near Dyanhar NW India, 1844, Edgeworth 25 (holo K; illus. K-LINDL).

Eulophia holtzei F.Muell., Victorian Naturalist 6: 55 (1889); Pachystoma holtzei (F.Muell.) F.Muell., Victorian Naturalist 8: 180 (1892). Type: Port Darwin, M. Holtze s.n. (holo K).

Pachystoma gracile Schltr., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 39: 66 (1906); Pachystoma pubescens var. gracile (Schltr.) Halle, Fl. Nouve.-Caledon. Depend. 8: 341 (1977). Type: New Caledonia: Nord-Bezirk: an grasigen Abhangen auf den Bergen bei Ou Hinna, c. 200 m, Jan.1903, R. Schlechter 15752 (holo B).

Pachystoma affine Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 413 (1912). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land: On a alang-hill at Jawer, on the Minjem River, alt. c. 150 m, Sep.1907, R. Schlechter 16573 (holo B).

Pachystoma papuanum Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 1: 413 (1912). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land: On grassy hills in the vicinity of the Malia River, at the foot of the Bismark Range, alt. c. 150 m, Oct., R. Schlechter 18472 (holo B).

Pachystoma brevilabium Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 17: 69 (1920). Type: China: Kweitschon: Steppes de Lo kouey, 800 m, June1912, J. Esquirol s.n. (holo B).


Occurs in the northern parts of the Northern Territory and in north-eastern Queensland near Cardwell.

Altitude: 10-150 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Guinea and Thailand.


Terrestrial herb. Rhizome tuberous, slender, branching; leaves and inflorescence arising at branches. Leaves 1-2, terminal on rhizome, erect, basal, petiolate; lamina ensiform, 30-45 cm x 0.8-0.1 cm, dark green, pleated, apex acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 300-600 mm tall, wiry, fleshy, with 5-10 sheathing bracts on lower part; pedicels 3-8 mm long. Flowers 4-10, resupinate, porrect to nodding, more or less tubular, 10-12 mm x 4-5 mm, dull pink with yellow tips, externally hairy. Sepals and petals not opening widely. Dorsal sepal porrect, cymbiform, 10-12 mm x 4 mm, margins incurved, apex acuminate. Lateral sepals narrowly triangular, 10-12 mm x 5-6 mm, with prominent mentum, bases fused to dorsal sepal and column foot. Petals linear, 10-12 mm x 2.5 mm. Labellum 10-12 mm x 6-8 mm, curved, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect; midlobe papillate, apex truncate. Callus of 3-5 bright yellow undulate ridges. Column 7-8 mm long, curved, dilated at the tip. Column foot very short. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in woodlands, forests and rainforest margins, growing in seasonally wet grassy patches, often associated with Blady Grass or Kunai Grass (Imperata cylindrica) which its leaves resemble.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: November-December.

More about Pachystoma