Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Tropilis callitrophilis

Thin Feather Orchid

Tropilis callitrophilis (B.Gray & D.L.Jones) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13(11): 492 (2002).

Dendrobium aemulum var. callitrophilum (B.Gray & D.L.Jones) Dockrill, Austral. Indig. Orchids 1: 480 (1992).

Dendrobium callitrophilum B.Gray & D.L.Jones, Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensl. 100: 105-107, f. (1989). Type: Cook District; Koombooloomba Road, Nitchigar Creek, 1750S, 14534E, 700m, 8 Sep.1981, B. Gray 2140 and D.L. Jones (holo QRS; iso BRI, NSW).


Occurs in north-eastern Queensland from Mount Finnigan to the Evelyn Tableland.

Altitude: 760-1500 m.


Epiphytic or lithophytic herb forming small clumps. Pseudobulbs erect, very slender, 5-30 cm x 0.1-0.3 cm wide, base usually dark plum-coloured. Leaves 1-2 per pseudobulb, semi-erect to prostrate, apical, sessile, bases not sheathing pseudobulb; lamina ovate, 2-6.5 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, thin but leathery. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect, 8-25 mm long, sometimes from lower nodes on older pseudobulbs; pedicels 5-8 mm long. Flowers 1-6, resupinate, porrect, 7-10 mm x 10-15 mm, opening greenish yellow with cream centre, quickly becoming apricot-coloured, labellum with purplish bars. Sepals and petals relatively broad, widely spreading. Dorsal sepal erect, narrowly ovate, 12-14 mm x 2.5-3.5 mm. Lateral sepals narrowly triangular, falcate, 11-13 mm x 3-3.5 mm, bases fused to column foot. Petals erect or spreading, 11-13 mm x 1.5 mm. Labellum 5-6 mm x 6-7 mm, curved, 3-lobed; lateral lobes erect, pointed; midlobe decurved, apiculate, with 3 yellow keels, central keel prominent, undulate. Column 4 mm long. Column foot curved, 3.5 mm long. Capsules pendulous, dehiscent.


Occurs in rainforests and rainforest margins at high atitudes. It favours Stringybark Cypress Pine (Callitris macleayana) as a host, but also grows on various shrubby myrtles, such as Rhodamnia and Austromyrtus.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: August-September.

Name Changes

Until recently known as Dendrobium callitrophilum.

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