Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Trichoglottis australiensis

Weeping Cherub Orchid

Trichoglottis australiensis Dockrill, Orchadian 2: 106, f. (1967). Type: McIlwraith Range, Cape York Peninsula, 18 Mar.1967, M. Brown s.n. (holo BRI).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland on the Iron Range and McIlwraith Range.

Altitude: 400-600 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming coarse straggling clumps. Plants often consisting of a single erect to semi-pendulous growth. Roots thick, cord-like. Stems erect to pendulous, 10-50 cm long, thick, flattened, sparsely branched from the base. Leaves scattered along stem, erect to pendulous, often drooping, distichous, alternate, sessile, bases sheathing stem; lamina lanceolate, 7-12 cm x 2-2.5 cm, dark green to yellowish green, thick, leathery, glossy, apex unequally emarginate. Inflorescence an axillary raceme, emerging opposite a leaf; peduncle very short; pedicels 5-10 mm long. Flowers 2-6, in tight clusters, resupinate, erect to porrect, 10-12 mm x 10-12 mm, creamy yellow with red-brown blotches. Sepals and petals widely spreading, thin-textured. Dorsal sepal erect, oblong, 6.5 mm x 2 mm, apex incurved, obtuse. Lateral sepals free, oblong, 7 mm x 3 mm, with rounded basal lobe, bases fused to column foot. Petals spathulate, 6 mm x 2 mm. Labellum projected forwards, 5 mm x 2.5 mm, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, fleshy, joined to column base; midlobe 2.5 mm long, fleshy, hairy, with spur 1.5 mm long. Column 3 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests growing on trees in dense vegetation along streams, in drier rainforests on slopes and on boulders in dry but humid gullies. Large plants can have 4-5 stems supported by thick buttress of roots. The flowers are fragrant in the morning.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: November-May.

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