Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Stilbophyllum torressae

Mica Orchid, Sparkle Orchid

Stilbophyllum toressae (F.M.Bailey) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem., Orchadian 13(11); 490 (2002) (sic Stelbophyllum).

Bulbophyllum toressae F.M.Bailey, Syn. Queensl. fl. Suppl. 3: 72 (1890); Dendrobium toressae (F.M.Bailey) Dockrill, Orchadian 1: 64 (1964). Type: On the shady rocks, Whelanian Pools [Belleden Ker], June-July 1889, T. Meston s.n. (holo BRI; iso K, MEL, NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Big Tableland to Tully Falls.

Altitude: 10-1100 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming dense spreading patches. Stems creeping, much-branched, appressed to host, 0.05 cm thick, sheathed in papery bracts. Pseudobulb and leaf fused into leaf-like structure, crowded, prostrate, distichous, sessile; lamina ovate, 0.6-0.8 cm x 0.3-0.4 cm wide, dark green, fleshy, deeply channelled, keeled beneath, surface pitted and appearing to glitter, apex acute. Inflorescence single-flowered, sessile, emerging through leaf base. Flower solitary, resupinate, erect, cupped, 6 mm x 6 mm, cream to pale pink with yellowish labellum, sometimes spotted with red. Sepals and petals not spreading widely. Dorsal sepal incurved, ovate, 3 mm x 2 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, broadly triangular, 3 mm x 2 mm, inner margins basally fused, bases fused to column foot. Petals obovate, 2.5 mm x 1 mm, apex acuminate. Labellum 6 mm x 2.5 mm, obscurely 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect; midlobe yellow, fleshy, broadly rounded. Column 1 mm long. Column foot curved, 1.5-2 mm long. Capsule sessile, erect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests growing on trees and rocks, from sea-level to the ranges and tablelands. The plants are hardy and often grow in exposed situations where their leaves take on reddish tones. The small glittering or sparkling leaves are an appealing feature.

Locally common.

Flowering period: Sporadic throughout the year.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium toressae.

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