Common name: Rat's Tail Orchid
Dendrobium teretifolium R.Br. APNI*
Synonyms: Dockrillia teretifolia (R.Br.) Brieger APNI*
Description: Epiphyte or epilith with stems spreading to pendent, wiry, rooting only at base of sympodium, 5–15 cm long, 1–4 mm diam., with 1 leaf at apex; roots smooth, creeping.
Leaves pendent, linear, terete, 10–60 cm long, 3–8 mm diam, succulent, smooth.
Inflorescences 4–10 cm long, 4–15-flowered. Sepals and lateral petals white to pale yellow with a few short red or purple striations at the base; dorsal sepal 20–40 mm long, 2–3 mm wide; labellum white to pale yellow, dotted with deep purple, 18–30 mm long, 4–6 mm wide. Column 2–2.5 mm long; column foot 3–5 mm long.
Flowering: July to October
Distribution and occurrence: Grows almost exclusively on Casuarina glauca but uncommonly also recorded from rainforest trees, chiefly in coastal districts north from near Bega and inland to the upper Hunter Valley.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, CT, CWS
Other Australian states: Qld
Dendrobium teretifolium comprises a range of morphotypes, and these have been formally recognised as varieties or species. While there is no doubt that plants of D. teretifolium in south-eastern Australia may differ in flower colour, number of flowers per raceme, and may grow on different host tree species, whether those differences reflect separate species status has not been addressed empirically. Therefore we adopt a conservative stance on the circumscription of D. teretifolium which treats morphotypes in New South Wales as varieties. Publication of empirical evidence supporting separate species status for these varieties will result in their being recognised as such.
Text by P. H. Weston, updated by Matt A.M. Renner
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)
Taxa not yet included in identification key
Dendrobium teretifolium var. aureum,
Dendrobium teretifolium var. fairfaxii,
Dendrobium teretifolium var. teretifolium
| ||Key to the varieties|| |
|1||Axillary buds prominently protruding, conical; inflorescence with 4 to 15 flowers; flowers mostly lacking prominent dark purple stripes at the base of the lateral sepals||Dendrobium teretifolium var. teretifolium|
|Axillary buds not protruding or protruding slightly, flat to rounded; inflorescence with 1 to 7 flowers; flowers with prominent dark purple stripes at the base of the lateral sepals||2|
|2||Flower predominantly yellow; dorsal sepal 2.5–5 cm long||Dendrobium teretifolium var. aureum|
|Flower predominantly white to cream; dorsal sepal 2–3.5 cm long|
Back to 1
|Dendrobium teretifolium var. fairfaxii|
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
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