Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Rhinerrhizopsis matutina

Cupped Freckle Orchid

Rhinerrhizopsis matutina D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Austral. Orchid. Res. 5: 11-12, f. 1.15 (21 Dec. 2006). Type: Flowered in cultivation the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 5 Sept. 1989, D.L. Jones 4964 (holo CBG 8913496), plant originally collected from 2 km S of Capsize Creek crossing on road running S from Iron Range Airfield, Queensland, 18 Sept. 1976, J.W. Wrigley 428.


Occurs in far north-eastern Queensland on the Iron Range and McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 200-600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb usually consisting of a single semi-pendulous main growth. Roots spreading, thin, smooth. Stems sparsely branching, semi-pendulous, 5-12 cm long, fibrous. Leaves 3-8, scattered along stem, prostrate to pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina oblong, 15-30 cm x 5-6 cm, usually heavily suffused with pink or mauve, thin-textured, leathery, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, arching to pendulous, 300-450 mm long. Flowers 10-50, resupinate, porrect, cupped, 12-15 mm x 12-15 mm, tawny yellow, heavily spotted and blotched with brown; flowers short-lived, lasting a few hours, opening spasmodically along raceme. Sepals and petals incurved to spreading, broadly obovate to spathulate. Dorsal sepal 10-15 mm x 5-8 mm. Lateral sepals free, 10-15 mm x 5-8 mm. Petals 8-12 mm x 4-6 mm. Labellum white or yellowish, fleshy, 5-6 mm x 3-4 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes scimitar-shaped, 5 mm x 3 mm, incurved; midlobe tiny; spur 3 mm long, conical. Column porrect, 2 mm long. Column foot 2.5 mm long, at right-angles to the column. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on trees, particularly along edges of forest patches, stream banks and road verges. Plants growing in exposed positions tend to develop pink or purplish leaves. The fragrant flowers last for less than a day, opening early in morning and often finishing by midday. All plants in an area flower synchronously.

Locally common.

Flowering period: July-September.

Name Changes

Until recently confused with Rhinerrhizopsis moorei which is from New Guinea.

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