Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Taeniophyllum muelleri

Chain Ribbonroot

Taeniophyllum muelleri Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 291 (1873). Type: Queensland. On trees near Brisbane, 1872, W. Hill, C. Prentice and F.M. Bailey s.n. (holo K; iso MEL, W).


Occurs in Queensland from Cape York Peninsula, south to the Wilson River, west of Wauchope in New South Wales.

Altitude: 50-1200 m.


Leafless epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming tangled colonies. Plants single or more often several joined together in a chain. Roots thin, adherent, 2-7 cm x 0.1 cm, green, round in cross-section. Stems 0.1 cm long. Leaves absent. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 30-50 mm long, filiform, glabrous, apex zig-zagged, with bracts. Flowers 5-12, resupinate, porrect, tubular, 3 mm x 2 mm, yellowish green, opening one at a time; buds, open flowers and capsules often present simultaneously. Sepals and petals somewhat fleshy, basally fused, spreading only in upper half, triangular. Dorsal sepal 2.5-3 mm x 0.6 mm. Lateral sepals 2.5-3 mm x 0.6 mm. Petals 2 mm x 1.6 mm. Labellum unlobed, pyriform, 3 mm long; with small obtuse apical appendage; spur 1 mm long. Column porrect, at slight angle to ovary, less than 1 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, 10 mm long, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests, sheltered areas of open forests, humid gullies and streamside vegetation where it grows on trees and shrubs. Plants in the southerly regions are usually single but in the tropics they are often linked to form clonal colonies, reproducing by proliferation from root tips.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: August-September.

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