Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Phaius pictus

Forest Swamp Orchid

Phaius pictus T.E.Hunt, Victorian Naturalist 69: 27 (1952). Type: Queensland-Cook District, on Bellenden Ker Range above 2,000 feet, May 1947, J.H. Wilkie ex T.E. Hunt 513 (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on the McIlwraith Range, and from the Bloomfield River to Kirrama Range between Tully and Cardwell.

Altitude: 0-600 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea.


Terrestrial herb forming large clumps. Stems 3-6, erect, cylindrical to angular, 40-60 cm x 1.5-2 cm, fleshy, slightly swollen at the base. Leaves 3-5, erect, apical, petiolate; lamina lanceolate, 40-70 cm x 0.7-0.1 cm, dark green, pleated, thin-textured, apex acute to emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 300-900 mm long, tough. Flowers 4-20, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 40-50 mm x 40-50 mm, internally brick red with yellow stripes, externally yellow. Sepals and petals spreading widely. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, oblong to ovate, 35-42 mm x 10-12 mm. Lateral sepals free, divergent, porrect, oblong to ovate, 35-42 mm x 12-14 mm, apex apiculate. Petals widely spreading, recurved, lanceolate, 35-42 mm x 7-9 mm. Labellum unlobed, 15-17 mm x 13-15 mm, yellow inside, with scattered long hairs towards apex; basal margins tubular; apical margins undulate. Callus with 2 narrow parallel plates ending in series of overlapping blunt structures. Column 16 mm long, dilated towards tip, sparsely covered in short hairs. Column foot absent. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in humid rainforests, usually in sheltered sites close to streams or localised seepage areas. It can also be found growing among forest litter on boulders.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: April-June.

More about Phaius