Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Pomatocalpa marsupiale

Branched Bladder Orchid

Pomatocalpa marsupiale (Kraenzl.) J.J.Sm., Natuurk. tijdschr. Ned.-Indie 72: 105 (1912).

Cleisostoma marsupiale Kraenzl. in K. Schum. & Hollr., Die Flora van Kaiser Wilhelms Land 34-5 (1889). Type: Epiphytisch auf Manilton Schefferi K. Sch. im Vorlande der II. Augusta-Station, Sep., Hollrung 743 (holo B).

Saccolabium sphaeroceras Schltr. in K. Schum. & Laut., Fl. Schutzeb. Sudsee, Nachtrage 230 (1905); Pomatocalpa sphaeroceras J.J.Sm., Natuurk. tijdschr. Ned.-Indie 72: 106 (1912). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelmsland: Auf Baurmer in den Walden am oberen Ramu, c. 100 m, Jan.1902, R. Schlechter 14092 (holo B).

Pomatocalpa orientale J.J.Sm., Natuurk. tijdschr. Ned.-Indie 72: 36 (1912), nom. nud.


Occurs in Queensland on the Iron Range and McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 400-600 m.

Also occurs in Indonesia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming large erect clumps with numerous thick roots. Stems erect, 20-50 cm long, thick, branching near base. Leaves scattered along stem, prostrate to arching, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem and imbricate; lamina narrowly oblong, 15-30 cm x 4-5 cm, yellowish green, leathery, deeply channelled, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary panicle, stiffly erect, 200-450 cm long, branched near apex. Flowers 15-20 per panicle branch, crowded in dense head, resupinate, erect, a few open at once, 12-15 mm x 12-15 mm, green with cream or yellowish labellum. Sepals and petals widely spreading, fleshy. Dorsal sepal erect, oblong to ovate, 6-8 mm x 2.5-3 mm. Lateral sepals free, divergent, oblong to ovate, 6-8 mm x 2.5-3 mm. Petals obliquely erect, narrowly obovate, falcate, 5-6 mm x 2-2.5 mm. Labellum 4-5 mm x 3-4 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 1 mm x 3 mm, incurved; midlobe short, thick, fleshy, recurved; spur 4 mm long, pyriform. Column 2.5 mm long, dilated toward the tip. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests where it grows on upper branches of trees in open situations, especially along stream banks. It rarely grows on rocks. In exposed positions the leaves often become a bleached yellowish green.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: November-May.

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