Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelasis carinata

Triangular Fly Orchid

Thelasis carinata Blume, Bijdr. 8: 385 (1825); Phreatia carinata (Blume) Miq., Fl. Ind. Bat. 3: 655 (1859); Eria carianta (Blume) Rchb.f. in Seemann, Fl. Vitensis 301 (1868); Oxyanthera carinata (Blume) Schltr., Mem. Herb. Boiss. 21: 76 (1900). Type: Java, Tjapus River, Mt. Salak, C. Blume 78 (holo L).

Thelasis elata Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 87 (1890); Oxyanthera elata (Hook.f.) Hook.f., Hooker's Icon. Pl. 22: t. 2157 (1892). Type: Perak, on decayed wood, King’s Collector s.n. (holo K).

Oxyanthera papuana Schltr. in K. Schum & Laut., Fl. Schutzgeb. Sudsee, Nachtrage 126 (1905); Thelasis papuana (Schltr.) W.Kittr., Bot. Mus. Leafl. 30: 102 (1984 publ. 1985). Type: Kaiser-Wilhelmsland: On trees in the forests of the Torricelli Range, alt. c. 700-800 m, Apr. 1902, R. Schlechter 14330 (holo B; iso K).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on the Iron Range and McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 300-700 m.

Also occurs in south-eastern Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Caledonia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Pseudobulbs absent. Stems erect, in tufts of 2-6, flattened, 2-5 cm wide. Leaves 3-6, scattered along stem, erect to arching, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina narrowly oblong, 20-30 cm x 2.5-2.8 cm, dark green, thin, ridged beneath, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, erect to arching, 200-400 mm long, stiff, thin; pedicels 5 mm long, including ovary; ovaries triangular in cross-section. Flowers 6-15, resupinate, erect to porrect, 5-7 mm x 3-4 mm, base tubular, green, upper parts white and spreading. Dorsal sepal porrect, gibbous at base, 4-6 mm x 1-1.5 mm, apex obliquely erect. Lateral sepals free, triangular in cross-section, 4-6 mm x 1-1.5 mm. Petals 3-5 mm x 0.8 mm. Labellum unlobed, decurved, cordate, 4-4.5 mm x 2.5 mm, middle constricted. Column 1-1.5 mm long, apex toothed. Column foot absent. Capsule porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests at low to moderate altitudes growing on rocks and trees in bright humid situations. The small flowers are short-lived and self-pollinating.


Flowering period: April-June.

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