Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Robiquetia gracilistipes

Large Pouched Orchid

Robiquetia gracilistipes (Schltr.) J.J.Sm. in Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederl. Ind. 72: 43 (1912).

Saccolabium gracilistipes Schltr. in K. Schum. & Laut., Fl. Schutzgeb. Sudsee, Nachtrage 227 (1905). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelmsland: Auf Baumen in den Walden des Bismark-Gebirges, c. 800 m, Jan. 1902, R. Schlechter 13948 (holo B).

Saccolabium tierneyanum Rupp, Queensland Naturalist 12:18-20, f. (1942); Robiquetia tierneyana (Rupp) Dockrill, Austral. Sarcanth. 7, t. 18 (1967). Type: Pine Creek near Cairns, Apr. 1934, W.F. Tierney s.n. (holo NSW not found).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Iron Range to Ingham.

Altitude: 0-600 m.

Also occurs in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming large coarse straggly clumps. Plants usually a single main growth and thick roots. Stem pendulous, 30-150 cm long, thick, apex upturned. Leaves scattered along stem, prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina elliptical to oblong, 15-25 cm long, 3.5-6 cm, green to yellowish green, thick, leathery, margins entire to undulate, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, stiffly pendulous, 150-300 mm long, emerging opposite a leaf; pedicels 5-7 mm long. Flowers 10-40, resupinate, porrect, cupped, 9-11 mm x 6-7 mm, cream, pale green or brownish with red spots. Sepals and petals fleshy. Dorsal sepal projected forward, oblong to elliptical, 3-4 mm x 2.5 mm apex obtuse. Lateral sepals free, oblong, 3-4 mm x 2.5 mm. Petals ovate, 3-3.5 mm x 2 mm. Labellum 6 mm x 4 mm, yellow with red bands, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 2 mm long; midlobe 2 mm long, fleshy; spur decurved, 4 mm long, apex expanded. Column 2.5 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in lowland and intermediate rainforests, usually in situations of relatively high light intensity, growing on rocks and trees. It forms coarse untidy clumps and plants growing in exposed positions are often bleached yellowish by the sun. The flowers have a pleasant perfume.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: March-May.

More about Robiquetia