Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelychiton finniganensis

Mount Finnigan Cane Orchid

Thelychiton finniganensis (D.L.Jones) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 491 (2002).

Dendrobium finniganensis D.L.Jones, Phytologia 73(1): 3-6, f.1 (1992). Type: cultivated Australian National Botanic Gardens, 31 Jan. 1992, ex Australia. Queensland: Cook District: Mt Finnigan, L. Roberts s.n. (L. Lawler 66) (holo CANB; iso BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on the summits of Mount Finnigan, Mount Pieter Botte and Thornton Peak.

Altitude: 1100-1650 m


Terrestrial or lithophytic herbs forming large clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, narrowly cylindrical, 2-24 cm x 0.3-0.4 cm, pale green to yellowish to red, thin, shallowly furrowed, with numerous aerial growths. Leaves 1-3, apical, erect to prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing pseudobulb; lamina elliptic to lanceolate, 5-8 cm x 1-2 cm, dark green, thin-textured, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 30-45 mm long; pedicels 10-14 mm long. Flowers usually 1-2, sometimes up to 5, resupinate, porrect, 27-40 mm x 25-35 mm, cream to white with yellow and purple central markings. Sepals and petals fleshy, widely spreading. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate to lanceolate, 22-26 mm x 6-8 mm, fused to column foot at base, apex acute to acuminate. Lateral sepals lanceolate, falcate, 24-26 mm x 12-14 mm, apex acute. Petals porrect to spreading, linear, falcate, 20-22 mm x 4-5 mm, apex acute to acuminate. Labellum curved, 14 mm x 13 mm, white with purplish red suffusions and markings, 3-lobed; lateral lobes triangular, erect; midlobe rounded, with single yellow ridge, margins and upper surface with short dense tangled transparent hairs. Column porrect, 4 mm long. Column foot 8 mm long, curved. Capsule porrect to pendulous, dehiscent.


Grows on exposed sites among rocks and boulders among scattered low shrubs and dense Lomandra tussocks. Plants occur in areas with changeable weather conditions and are often exposed to hot sun, clouds, mists and fogs. They produce numerous aerial growths, from which vegetative colonies develop. The flowers have a strongly sweet fragrance.

Highly localised but common.

Flowering period: November-January.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium finniganensis.

More about Thelychiton