Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Sarcochilus tricalliatus

Pale Fairy Bells

Sarcochilus tricalliatus (Rupp) Rupp, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 76: 54 (1951). Type: cult. Sydney ex Mount Dryander, Queensland, 1935, K. MacPherson s.n. (holo NSW).

Sarcochilus hillii (F.Muell.) F.Muell. var. tricalliatus Rupp, North Queensland Naturalist 4(44): 31 (1936)


Occurs in Queensland fron Cooktown to Rockhampton.

Altitude: 200-800 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Plants usually consisting of a single drooping growth. Stem 1-3 cm long, sparsely branched. Leaves 2-10, scattered along stem, pendulous, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem, imbricate; lamina linear, 5-10 cm x 0.3-0.5 cm, dark reddish green, spotted, fleshy, apex acute. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, pendulous, 30-60 mm long, filiform; pedicels 4 mm long. Flowers 2-8, resupinate, porrect, 8-10 mm x 8-10 mm, white. Sepals and petals cupped or spreading, broadest in middle. Dorsal sepal erect to incuved, broadly ovate to obovate, 4-6 mm x 3-4 mm. Lateral sepals broadly ovate to obovate, 4-6 mm x 3-4 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals oblong, 4-5 mm x 2.5 mm. Labellum 4 mm long, sparsely hairy, 3-lobed; lateral lobes 2 mm x 1.5 mm, inner surface sparsely hairy with purple stripes; midlobe erect, obtuse, sparsely hairy. Column 1.5 mm long. Column foot 2 mm long, at right-angles to the column. Capsules porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in drier stunted rainforests and on slopes of gorges growing on gnarled rough-barked trees. The inflorescence produces flowers sporadically over a period of several months, with only a few flowers open at the same time.


Flowering period: November-January.

Name Changes

Confused with Sarcochilus minutiflos, which is confined to south-central Queensland.

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