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Genus Sarcochilus Family Orchidaceae

Description: Epiphytic, epilithic or rarely terrestrial herbs, monopodial; roots creeping over the surface of the substrate or aerial and fibrous or subterranean and fleshy.

Leaves scattered along the stem, 2 or more per shoot, distichous, conduplicate.

Inflorescence racemose, usually >1-flowered, lateral; flowers resupinate. Sepals free, similar. Lateral petals free, similar to sepals. Labellum free, hinged to tip of column foot; lamina 3-lobed, shallowly saccate, bearing 1 central callus and sometimes 2 lateral calli or calli absent; midlobe often forming a solid spur. Column lacking free filament and style; column wings apparently absent. Column foot longer than to slightly shorter than column. Anther incumbent, cap-like. Pollinia 4, waxy. Stigma entire. Rostellum not prominent, ventral.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 17 species, Australia, New Caledonia. Australia: 16 species (endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.

Text by P. H. Weston
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves linear, less than 10 mm wide; labellum with hairs on the midlobe2
Leaves elliptic, oblong or obovate or narrowly or rarely linearly so, but if linear then leaves more than 10 mm wide; labellum glabrous3
2Plants epiphytic, usually pendent, with one or rarely several shootsSarcochilus hillii
Plants epilithic or rarely growing in soil, erect, usually with numerous tufted shoots
                       Back to 1
Sarcochilus ceciliae
3Sepals and lateral petals elliptic to spathulate, white to pale yellow or pink, sometimes spotted with red, purple or crimson4
Sepals and lateral petals narrow-oblong, often markedly dilated near the tip, green to brown or rarely yellow
                       Back to 1
8
4Plants epilithic or rarely terrestrial or epiphytic, often forming large, branching mats or groups of tufted shoots; stems usually more than 8 cm long5
Plants usually epiphytic or rarely epilithic, consisting of one or rarely two or more shoots; stems 1–8 cm long
                       Back to 3
7
5Rachis equal to or longer than peduncle; perianth predominantly creamSarcochilus aequalis
Rachis much shorter than peduncle; perianth predominantly white or pink
                       Back to 4
6
6Labellum less than a quarter the length of dorsal sepal; sepals and lateral petals white, often with red or reddish brown spots at the base; plants erect to decumbent, with deeply channelled leavesSarcochilus hartmannii
Labellum more than a third the length of the dorsal sepal; sepals and lateral petals white to pink, with pink to crimson spots at the base or covering them; plants usually pendent, with slightly channelled leaves
                       Back to 5
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii
7Sepals and lateral petals white, usually with a purple midline on the outside; labellum white, stained with orange and striated with purple, 3.5–6.0 mm longSarcochilus falcatus
Perianth cream blotched with dull purple or purplish red; labellum c. 1.5 mm long
                       Back to 4
Sarcochilus weinthalii
8Dorsiventral dimension of flower about equal to lateral dimension; column foot slightly longer than column, set at a very oblique angle to itSarcochilus parviflorus
Dorsiventral dimension of flower conspicuously greater than lateral dimension; column foot about twice as long as column, set almost at right angles to it
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9
9Spur at front of labellum c. 1 mm long; lateral lobes of labellum almost semi-circular; pedicel plus ovary 2–4 mm longSarcochilus dilatatus
Spur at front of labellum 2–4 mm long; lateral lobes of labellum more or less oblong or narrow-oblong; pedicel plus ovary 3–8 mm long
                       Back to 8
10
10Spur at front of labellum solid; lateral lobes of labellum more or less oblong; labellum callus 3-lobedSarcochilus australis
Spur at front of labellum hollow; lateral lobes of labellum narrow-oblong; labellum callus absent
                       Back to 9
Sarcochilus spathulatus

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