Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Thelychiton jonesii subsp. jonesii

Oak Orchid

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

Dendrobium jonesii Rendle, J. Bot. 39: 197 (1901). Type: cult. London ex Johnstone River, Queensland, A.O. Jones s.n.(holo BM).

Dendrobium speciosum var. fusiforme F.M.Bailey, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 2: 277-8 (1878); Dendrobium fusiforme (F.M.Bailey) F.M.Bailey, Queensl. fl. 5: 1527 (1902), non Thouars (1822); Dendrobium ruppianum A.Hawkes, Austral. Orchid. Rev. 29: 40 (1964); Dendrocoryne speciosum var. fusiforme (F.M.Bailey) Brieger, Schlechter Die Orchideen 3(1): 725-6 (1981), nom. inval.; Tropolis ruppiana (A.Hawkes) Butzin, Willdenowia 12(2): 250 (1982); Tropolis ruppiana (A.Hawkes) Rauschert, Feddes Repert. 94(7-8): 470 (1984), nom. illeg. Type: Cairns Range, North Queensland, Aug. 1894, F.M. Bailey s.n. ( holo K).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Iron Range to Paluma.

Altitude: 10-1200 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small to medium-sized clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, fusiform, 20-50 cm x 3-4 cm, dark brownish green, hard, 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, 16-20 mm x 20-25 mm, cream or white, yellowing with age, fragrant. Sepals and petals widely spreading, narrow, apices apiculate. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, narrowly triangular, 16-22 mm x 3-4 mm. Lateral sepals divergent, narrowly triangular, falcate, 16-22 mm x 2.5-4.5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals decurved, linear, 16-22 mm x 2 mm. Labellum curved, 8 mm x 7 mm, white with purple markings; lateral lobes crescent-shaped; midlobe oblong, with single orange ridge, apex truncate. Column 3-4 mm long. Column foot curved, 4-5 mm long. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and open forests growing on rocks and trees. In open forests it is often found growing on she-oaks (Casuarina spp.) and in rainforests it occurs on a wide range of tree species. The flowers are strongly perfumed in the morning.

Widespread and common.

Flowering period: July-October.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium jonesii.

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