Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelychiton jonesii subsp. bancroftianum

Large Oak Orchid

Thelychiton jonesii (Rendle) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones subsp. bancroftianus (Rchb.f.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 491 (2002).

Dendrobium speciosum var. bancroftianium Rchb.f., Gard. Chron. (new ser.), 15: 782 (1881); Dendrobium speciosum var. hillii forma bancroftianum (Rchb.f.) F.M.Bailey, Queensl. fl. 5: 1526 (1902); Dendrobium jonesii subsp. bancroftianum (Rchb.f.) M.A.Clem., Austral. Orch. Res. 1: 54 (1989). Type: cult. T.Christy ex Australia, T.L. Bancroft s.n. (holo W).

Dendrobium fusiforme forma magnifica Dockrill, North Queensland Naturalist 24(114): 24 (1956); Dendrobium ruppianum forma magnificum (Dockrill) Dockrill, Austral. Pl. 3: 224 (1965). Types: North Queensland: Bellenden Ker, Oct. 1951, J.H. Wilkie s.n. (holo NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Mount Finnigan to Mount Spec near Ingham.

Altitude: 1000-1650 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small to medium-sized clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, fusiform, 20-50 cm x 3-4 cm, hard, dark brownish green, prominently ribbed. Leaves 2-7, erect to prostrate, apical, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing pseudobulb; lamina ovate, 6-15 cm x 4-6 cm, dark green, thin-textured, leathery, apex unequally acuminate. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 200-350 mm long. Flowers 10-35, crowded, resupinate, porrect, star-shaped, 20-30 mm x 35-50 mm, cream or white, yellowing with age, fragrant. Sepals and petals widely spreading, narrow, apiculate. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, narrowly triangular, 30-50 mm x 4-5 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, narrowly triangular, falcate, 30-50 mm x 4-5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals decurved, linear, 30-50 mm x 4-5 mm. Labellum curved, large, white with purple markings, 3-lobed; lateral lobes crescent-shaped; midlobe oblong, with single orange ridge, apex truncate. Column 3-4 mm long. Column foot curved, 4-5 mm long. Capsule pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests at high elevations, growing on trees and rocks. Plants are variable and depending on site may be easy or difficult to distinguish from Thelychiton jonesii subsp. jonesii.

Locally common.

Flowering period: September-November.

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