Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Thismia hawkesii W.E.Cooper

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © R.Jensen

Cooper, W.E. (2017) Austrobaileya 10(1): 131-132. Type: Cook District: Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve, Herberton Range, near Atherton, 29 January 2017, W. Cooper 2407, R. Jensen, B. Hyland, T. Hawkes, T. de Groot & B. Gray (holo: CNS [spirit only]).

Common name

Fairy lantern


Plants lack chlorophyll, fleshy herb, lacking above-ground stems and with flowers borne at ground level, fleshy; roots coralloid, densely clustered.


Leaves spirally arranged, scale-like, narrowly triangular, 2-3.5 mm long, c. 1 mm wide at base, whitish, glabrous, papillose; base truncate; apex acute, entire.


Bracts subtending flowers ovate, mostly keeled, 3.5-6.5 mm long, to 3.5 mm wide, cream-coloured. Flowers solitary, sessile, terminal, actinomorphic, 18-26 mm long (including mitre-process); mitre-process a solitary, terminal tentacle-like process; perianth 14-22 mm long (including mitre process), 7-8 mm wide; tube inflated, urceolate, 6-ribbed with ribs dentate, glabrous except for short hairs lining the aperture margin, white in upper half, aqua-blue ageing to olive-green in lower half, the ribs blackish or very dark brown; outer tepals absent or comprising narrow wings to c. 0.15 mm long, blackish or very dark brown, glabrous; inner tepals 3, 8.5–9.5 mm long (including mitre-processes), c. 5.5 mm wide at the widest part, somewhat trullate, connate (rarely separating with age), forming a hood over each opening and with 3 vertical lobes creating a dished or doughnutshaped depression at apex; mitre-processes terminal, 3-sutured, slender, 5-.5 mm long, blackish or very dark brown, glabrous; stamens 6, connate and forming a pendulous tube hanging from perianth aperture, each with 2 adaxially positioned shallow loculi, indigo-blue, abaxial and adaxial surfaces with erect, colourless, translucent trichomes; connectives rectangular with acute apical lobes; lateral appendages flattened, adaxial, large, wing-like, ± square or sometimes almost hastate, with an acute apex and erect, colourless, translucent, marginal trichomes; anthers adaxial, extrorse, pale yellow; style c. 1 mm long with 3, erect, oblong, emarginate stigmatic lobes, each with minute erect trichomes abaxially and adaxially; ovary inferior, not delimited from hypanthium, unilocular, 3-carpellate, oblate, smooth, aqua-blue, glabrous; ovules numerous.


Fruit a cup-shaped capsule c. 4.5 mm long and 7.5 mm wide, on a pedicel elongated to c. 75 mm above bracts; seeds numerous, spindleshaped, c. 0.5 mm long.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ. Known only from a few collections made near Atherton on the Herberton Range, at an altitude of ca. 860 m.

Natural History & Notes

Plants lack chlorophyll and obtain carbohydrates from other plants by accessing fungal mycorrhizal networks.

Description from Cooper (2017).

Thismia sp. Scrubby Creek (M.S.Hopkins & A.W.Graham 94/8) [Provisional HISPID phrase name.]
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.