Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Sarcochilus borealis

Small Lawyer Orchid

Sarcochilus borealis (Nicholls) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Austral. Orch. Res. 1: 131 (1989).

Sarcochilus olivaceus var. borealis Nicholls, North Queensland Naturalist 8(60): 1 (1939). Type: Millaa Millaa, Queensland, 2 May 1939, B. Sparvell and H. Flecker s.n. (holo MEL).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on Mountt Lewis and the Atherton Tableland.

Altitude: 800-1000 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb usually consisting of single stiff growth. Stem porrect to pendulous, 1-3 cm long. Leaves 2-6 per stem, scattered along stem, prostrate to pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina oblong, 4-8 cm x 1.5-2 cm, dark green, thin-textured but stiff, margins entire, apex acute to unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 60-100 mm long, arching to pendulous; pedicels 5 mm long. Flowers 2-10, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 16-18 mm x 18-20 mm, pale green to dark green with red central markings. Sepals and petals widely spreading, base narrow. Dorsal sepal rhomboid, 8-11 mm x 3.5-5 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, sometimes spreading at right-angles to column foot, oblong to ovate, 8-11 mm x 3-4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals more or less spathulate, 7-10 mm x 3-3.5 mm. Labellum 5-7 mm x 3-4 mm, white with prominent red-brown bars and markings, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, 4 mm x 1.5 mm; midlobe with prominent tooth 1-1.3 mm long. Column 2.5 mm. Column foot 2.5 mm, at an obtuse angle to column. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in highland rainforests growing on trees and vines.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: June-December.

Name Changes

Until recently referred to as Sarcochilus olivaceus var. borealis.

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