Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Trachoma subluteum

Yellow Spectral Orchid

Trachoma subluteum (Rupp) Garay, Bot. Mus. Leafl. 23: 208 (1972).

Saccolabium subluteum Rupp, North Queensland Naturalist 21 (105): 1 (1953). Type: cult. Cairns, Apr., 1953, ex Johnstone River, near Upper Daradgee, Oct.1952, S.F. Goessling-St. Cloud s.n. (holo not found); cult. ANBG, 21 Feb.1989, M.A. Clements 4806 ex Queensland, Cook Distrist, Wallacha Falls, Palmerston Highway, 6 June1972, J. Wrigley and I. Telford NQ 784A (neotype CANB!), fide Clements (1989).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Cairns to Innisfail.

Altitude: 50-700 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming erect to semi-pendulous clumps. Roots few, cord-like, 0.2 cm wide. Stems erect to pendulous, 3-6 cm long, unbranched. Leaves 3-6, scattered along stem, crowded, prostrate, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina elliptic to ovate, 5-8 cm x 2 cm, dark green, thick, fleshy, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, 5-15 mm long, thick, fleshy, not club-shaped, bearing groups of up to 4 flowers at once. Flowers resupinate, erect to porrect, cupped, 2-3 mm x 3-4 mm, dull yellow with white labellum. Sepals and petals moderately spreading. Dorsal sepal hooded, 5 mm x 2.5 mm. Lateral sepals free, oblong, 5 mm x 3 mm. Petals 4 mm x 1 mm. Labellum 4 mm x 5 mm, the walls very thick and fleshy, 3-lobed; lateral lobes short; midlobe short. Spur 1.5 mm long, with narrow, slit-like opening. Column 2 mm long with incurved wings. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, 10 mm long.


Occurs in rainforests growing on trees overhanging streams, and on ridges where there is abundant air movement, mists and fogs.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: February-April.

Name Changes

Until confused with Trachoma papuanum.

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