Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Peristeranthus hillii

Beetle Orchid

Peristeranthus hillii (F.Muell.) T.E.Hunt, Queensland Naturalist 15: 17 (1954).

Saccolabium hillii F.Muell., Fragm. 1: 192 (1859); Ornithochilus hillii (F.Muell.) Benth., J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 18: 334 (1881). Type: In locis silvattus ad sinum Moreton Bay, 25 Oct. 1869, W. Hill s.n. (holo MEL).


Occurs in Queensland from the Bloomfield River near Ayton to Port Macquarie on the central coast of New South Wales.

Altitude: 0-1100 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming semi-pendulous clumps. Stems porrect to pendulous, 10-30 cm x 0.5 cm wide, upturned toward the apex, fibrous. Leaves 3-10, widely spaced along stem, pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina oblong, 15-25 cm x 3-4 cm, light green, with numerous parallel veins, leathery, often twisted, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, pendulous, 100-250 mm long. Flowers numerous, resupinate, nodding, star-shaped, 6-8 mm x 5-7 mm, pale green, often with numerous crimson spots and suffusions, fragrant. Sepals and petals widely spreading, narrowly oblong to narrowly spathulate, apices usually incurved. Dorsal sepal erect, 3-3.5 mm x 1 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, incurved, 3-3.5 mm x 0.8 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals obliquely erect, 3-3.5 mm x 1 mm. Labellum hinged, 2.5 mm x 3 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes triangular, 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm; spur 1 mm long, tapered, hollow, with raised conical callus on rear wall. Column 1-1.5 mm long, curved sharply forward at right-angles in the middle. Column foot 0.5-0.8 mm long, in line with lower half of column. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs mainly in highland rainforests in tropical regions, and in subtropical regions in coastal and near-coastal rainforests, especially on ridgetops and slopes in drier forests.


Flowering period: September-October.


This species has been listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.

More about Peristeranthus