Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelychiton adae

Slender Cane Orchid

Thelychiton adae (F.M.Bailey) M.A.Clem. et D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 491 (2002).

Dendrobium adae F.M.Bailey, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 1: 149 (1884); Callista adae (F.M.Bailey) Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 654 (1891); Tropilis adae (F.M.Bailey) Butzin, Willdenowia 12(2): 250 (1982); Tropilis adae (F.M.Bailey) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 470 (1983), nom. illeg. Type: Scrub between Herberton and Mourilyan Harbour, J.W.R. Stuart s.n. (lectotype K; isolectotype L), fide Clements (1989).

Dendrobium palmerstoniae Schltr., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih. 3: 317 (1907). Type: Queensland: auf dem Mount Bellenden Ker, 1888, C. Palmerston s.n. (holo B).

Dendrobium ancorarium Rupp, Queensland Naturalist 12: 114, t. 6 (1945). Type: cult. Northbridge, 1944, H.M.R. Rupp ex neighbourhood of Mount Spurgeon, 1939, H. Flecker s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from the Big Tableland to Mount Spec near Ingham.

Altitude: 700-1600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herbs forming small clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, cylindrical, 20-60 cm x 0.6 cm, usually yellowish brown, wiry, becoming furrowed. Leaves 2-4, erect to prostrate, apical, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing pseudobulb; lamina ovate, 4-8 cm x 1.5-2.5 cm, dark green, midrib ridged beneath, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 1-4 cm long. Flowers 1-6, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 20-35 mm x 20-30 mm, white, greenish, pale yellow or apricot-coloured. Sepals and petals fleshy, widely spreading. Dorsal sepal erect, oblong, 12-17 mm x 4-5 mm, apex obtuse. Lateral sepals triangular, falcate, 10-15 mm x 4.5-5.5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals obliquely erect, moderately incurved, lanceolate, 9-14 mm x 3-4 mm. Labellum projected forward, curved, 9 mm x 5 mm, white with reddish markings, shortly hairy, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, apex apiculate; midlobe with prominent central ridge, apex apiculate. Column 3 mm long. Column foot 5 mm long, slightly curved. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and in sheltered areas of open forests where it grows on boulders and trees. The flowers have a sweet fragrance. Plants from Mount Windsor Tableland often have apricot-coloured flowers.

Locally common.

Flowering period: July-October.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium adae.

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