Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Saccolabiopsis rectifolia

Tiny Pitcher Orchid

Saccolabiopsis rectifolia (Dockrill) Garay, Bot. Mus. Leafl. 23(4): 198 (1972).

Robiquetia rectifolia Dockrill, Austral. Sarcanth. 8, t. 17 (1967). Type: Babinda, North Queensland, 20 Aug. 1961, A.W. Dockrill s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Russell River to Johnstone River.

Altitude: 100-400 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming very small clumps. Plants tiny, usually consisting of single growth with thin roots. Stems unbranched, 0.1-0.15 cm long. Leaves 3-6 per stem, scattered along stem, crowded, prostrate to pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina narrowly ovate to falcate, 1.5-4 cm x 0.6-1 cm, light green to yellowish, thin-textured, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, thickened towards apex, 20-60 mm long; pedicels 3 mm long, including ovary. Flowers 4-15, resupinate, porrect to nodding, cupped, 3 mm x 2 mm, green with white labellum, labellum and column with purple spots. Sepals and petals not spreading widely, oblong to ovate. Dorsal sepal strongly incurved, 2 mm x 1 mm. Lateral sepals free, porrect or incurved, 2.3 mm x 1 mm. Petals porrect or incurved, 2 mm x 0.8 mm. Labellum 2 mm x 1.5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes small, semi-erect, obtuse; midlobe decurved, triangular, apex obtuse; spur 1.5 mm long, apex widened, bearing nectar. Column porrect from end of ovary, 1.5 mm long, with prominent incurved wings, 0.5 mm x 0.5 mm. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on twigs and the outer branches of trees, especially those overhanging streams. The plants are very small and easily overlooked.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: June-August.

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