Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Saccolabiopsis armitii

Spotted Pitcher Orchid

Saccolabiopsis armitii (F.Muell.) Dockrill, Austral. Sarcanth. 30, t. 20 (1967).

Sarcochilus armitii F.Muell., Fragm. 9: 49 (1875); Cleisostoma armitii (F.Muell.) F.M.Bailey, Queensl. fl. 5: 1555 (1902); Saccolabium armitii (F.Muell.) Rupp, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 76: 56 (1951). Type: Ad lacum Luciae prope origines fluminis Burdekin River [Lake Leruts], G.F. Armit 91 (holo MEL).

Cleisostoma nugentii F.M.Bailey, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 11: 17 (1895). Type: ĎBlack Ginís Leapí, Dec. 1894, L.J. Nugent 3 (holo BRI).

Cleisostoma orbiculare Rupp, North Queensland Naturalist 2 (7): 13 (1934); Saccolabium orbiculare (Rupp) Rupp, Victorian Naturalist 57: 220 (1941). Type: Mount Dryander, near Proserpine, N.Q. [North Queensland], Nov. 1933, K. Macpherson s.n. (holo NSW; iso BRI).


Occurs in Queensland from Weipa to Bundaberg.

Altitude: 0-200 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Plants usually consisting of single growth with coarse wiry roots. Stems rarely branched, 2-5 cm long, fibrous. Leaves 3-6, scattered along stem, crowded, prostrate to pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina oblong to narrowly elliptic, 3-6 cm x 1-1.2 cm, usually curved, green to bronze often with darker spotting; midrib prominently ridged beneath, stiff, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 50-90 mm long, stiffly pendulous; pedicels 2-3 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 20-50, resupinate, porrect to nodding, cupped, 5-7 mm x 3-4 mm, yellowish green with red markings, labellum white, anther red. Sepals and petals incurved. Dorsal sepal spathulate, 2 mm x 1 mm. Lateral sepals free, spathulate, 3 mm x 1 mm. Petals broadly obovate, 1 mm x 1 mm. Labellum projected forwards, c. 2 mm x 1 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 1 mm long, triangular; midlobe short, rounded, with incurved margins; spur 1.5 mm long. Column porrect from end of ovary, 1.5 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in coastal scrubs and in dry rainforests, reaching inland from up to 150 km from coast. Plants growing in exposed sites have reddish leaves and in severe drought plants shed most of their leaves and survive in a semi-dormant state.

Disjunct and locally common.

Flowering period: September-December.

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