Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Plexaure crassiuscula

Green Caterpillar Orchid

Plexaure crassiuscula (Nicholls) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 14(8): Suppl. xiv (2004).

Phreatia crassiuscula Nicholls, Victorian Naturalist 61: 151-3, f. (1945). Type: North Queensland, Mount Bartle Frere, (via Ingham), A. Glindeman s.n. (holo MEL not found).


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

Altitude: 600-1400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb. Plants usually consisting of single growth, sometimes in small clumps. Leaves 3-6, crowded along stem, erect to prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, in fan-like array, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina oblong, falcate, 4-6 cm x 1 cm, thick, fleshy, dark green, deeply channelled, apex obtuse. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, initially erect, becoming decurved with age, 15-35 mm long, fleshy, shortly petiolate. Flowers 20-60, crowded, tiny, non-resupinate, erect to porrect, 1.5-2 mm x 1.5-2 mm, white, cream or greenish. Floral bracts brown, prominent. Sepals and petals widely spreading. Dorsal sepal hooded, ovate, 1 mm x 0.6 mm. Lateral sepals ovate, 1 mm x 0.9 mm, bases fused to the column foot. Petals oblong, 0.7 mm x 0.3 mm. Labellum unlobed, broadly ovate, 0.7 mm x 0.7 mm, concave, margins upturned. Column 0.5 mm long. Column foot 0.5 mm long, upturned at base. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in highland rainforests growing on the mossy trunks and branches of trees.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: January-April.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Phreatia crassiuscula.

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