Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Epipogium roseum (D.Don) Lindl.


Lindley, J. (1857) J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Bot. 1: 177.

Common name

Leafless Nodding Orchid; Ghost Orchid


Plants soft and delicate, 'stems' hollow, about 13-30 cm tall. completely devoid of chlorophyll. Produces a tuber but not obvious roots.


'Leaves' (bracts) about 4-7 per plant, broad, about 5-13 x 7-20 mm, sheathing. Venation absent or very difficult to discern.


Flowers subtended by bracts about 5-12 x 5 mm. Pedicels about 3-5 mm long. Sepals about 7-12 x 1-2.5 mm. Petals about 9 x 3 mm. Labellum spurred, with the spur pointing backwards. Labellum about 12-13 x 10 mm with a ridge down the middle of the upper surface. Column about 2-2.5 mm long. Ovary about 7 x 6 mm, ovules numerous.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central NSW. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from near sea level to 850 m. Also found in Africa, Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

Plants lack chlorophyll and live as saprophytes. The flowering-fruiting cycle is quite short, probably only a few days.

Limodorum roseum D. Don, Prodr. Fl. Nepal : 30(1825), Type: Nepal, N. Wallich s. n.; Holo: BM; Iso: K, L. Epipogium nutans (Blume) H.G. Reichb., Bonplandia 5: 36(1857). Epipogium Guilfoylii Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 308(1873), Type: No type, name only cited as a synonym. Galera nutans Blume, Bijdr. 8: 416(1825), Type: Java, Mt Salak, Zollinger 506; Holo: W.
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