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Sarcochilus falcatus R.Br.
Family Orchidaceae
Common name: Orange-blossom Orchid, Orange Blossom Orchid

Sarcochilus falcatus R.Br. APNI*

Synonyms: Sarcochilus montanus Fitzg. APNI*
Sarcochilus falcatus var. montanus (Fitzg.) C.Moore & Betche APNI*
Thrixspermum falcatum (R.Br.) Rchb.f. APNI*
Sarcochilus niveus D.L.Jones & D.P.Banks APNI*

Description: Semi-pendent epiphyte or rarely an epilith, with 1 or rarely 2 or more shoots; stems 1–8 cm long.

Leaves asymmetrically oblanceolate to narrow-oblong, 2–16 cm long, 8–22 mm wide, slightly channelled, not spotted.

Inflorescence 1–13 cm long, 1–12-flowered, semi-pendent; rachis longer than or equal to peduncle; pedicel plus ovary 8–15 mm long. Flowers not campanulate; dorsiventral dimension of flower about equal to lateral dimension. Sepals and lateral petals elliptic to spathulate, white, usually with a purple midline on the outside. Labellum 3.5–6.0 mm long, one-third to half as long as dorsal sepal, glabrous, white stained with orange and striated with purple. Column 2.5–4 mm long, slightly shorter than column foot, ± set at right angles to it.

Photo J. Plaza

Flowering: recorded October

Distribution and occurrence: Grows on a variety of rainforest tree species but most commonly on Acacia melanoxylon or rarely on rocks, from 300 to 1200 m alt.; on the tablelands and coastal ranges.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, ST
Other Australian states: Qld Vic.
AVH map***

Sarcochilus falcatus exhibits variation in flower size, form, and fragrance correlated with both latitude and altitude, with smaller flowered forms in the south, and larger flowered forms to the north and at higher elevation. Some of these have been described as separate species, for example Sarcochilus montanus which was proposed by Fitzgerald in 1879 and found "on Mount Wilson, Mount Tomah, Mount Banda–banda, and the mountains at the head of the Bellinger." (Fitzgerald RD (1879) Australian Orchids 1(5): 3rd plate)

Text by P. H. Weston
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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