Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Serpenticaulis wolfei

Fleshy Snake Orchid

Serpenticaulis wolfei (B.Gray & D.L.Jones) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 500 (2002).

Bulbophyllum wolfei B.Gray & D.L.Jones, Austrobaileya 3(3): 331-333 (1991). Type: Queensland. Cook District: State Forest Reserve 144, Parish of Spurgeon, Wren Logging Area, 1611S, 14505E, 940 m, 22 Aug 1984, B.Gray 3529 (holo QRS, iso BRI, MEL, NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Carbine Tableland to Mount Windsor Tableland.

Altitude: 900-1200 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming sparse clumps. Rhizomes thin, creeping, appressed to host, branched. Pseudobulbs widely spaced, semi-erect, appressed to rhizome, ovoid to conical, 0.4-0.9 cm x 0.3-0.5 cm, flattened, faintly grooved. Leaves solitary on pseudobulb, apical, erect, oblong to ovate, 1-2.5 cm x 0.3-0.6 cm, dark green, thick, fleshy. Inflorescence axillary, single-flowered, 20-30 mm long, from rhizome nodes; pedicel curved near apex, filiform. Flower solitary, resupinate, nodding, horizontal, 5-8 mm x 5-8 mm, cream with conspicuous dark red stripes. Dorsal sepal porrect, hooded, 5.5-6.5 mm x 1.8-2 mm. Lateral sepals horizontal, widely spreading, straight to slightly falcate, 5.5-6.5 mm x 2-2.5 mm. Petals 2 mm x 1.2 mm, with central red stripe. Labellum 4.5-4.8 mm x 2 mm, fleshy, curved, with central groove. Column porrect, 1.2-1.5 mm long. Column foot 1 mm long, at right-angles to column with auricle on either side of apex. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on the upper branches of trees and is generally rare. S. wolfei has flowers very similar to those of S. bowkettiae, and is best distinguished from it by the leaves, which are fleshy and thick.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: April-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Bulbophyllum wolfei.

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