Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Sarcochilus roseus

Northern Fairy Bells

Sarcochilus roseus (Clemesha) Clemesha, Orchadian 3: 35-6 (1969).

Sarcochilus ceciliae F.Muell. subsp. roseus Clemesha, Orchadian 2: 92 (1967). Type: cult. Concord West, 11 Dec. 1966, S.C. Clemesha ex near Tinaroo Falls Dam, Queensland, c. 1957, J.E. Jones s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Mount Molloy to Paluma Range.

Altitude: 900-1300 m.


Lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Stems erect, 3-6 cm long, sparsely branched from near base. Leaves 4-8, scattered along stem, erect, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina linear, 4-8 cm x 0.4-0.8 cm, deeply channelled, thick and fleshy, green or pinkish brown, not spotted, apex acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect, 70-150 mm long; pedicels 5-8 mm long. Flowers 3-20, resupinate, erect, cupped, 6-8 mm x 6-8 mm, bright rosy pink. Sepals and petals incurved, overlapping, thick-textured. Dorsal sepal broadly elliptical, 5-6 mm x 3 mm. Lateral sepals ovate to obovate, 6-7 mm x 3-4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals narrowly oblong to narrowly ovate, 4-5 mm x 1.5 mm. Labellum projected forward, 4 mm x 3 mm, fleshy, with prominent red veins, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 3 mm long, erect; midlobe short, thick, sparsely hairy, fused with lateral lobes. Column 2 mm long. Column foot 2 mm long, at right-angles to the column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests in drier, more exposed sites on ranges. It is typically found growing on rocks among stunted shrubs in bright light. The extensive root system is large for such a small orchid.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: October-January.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Sarcochilus ceciliae subsp. roseus.

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