Skip links and keyboard navigation

Species profile—Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii (ravine orchid)


Plantae (plants) → Equisetopsida (land plants) → OrchidaceaeSarcochilus fitzgeraldii (ravine orchid)

Species details

Plantae (plants)
Equisetopsida (land plants)
Scientific name
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii F.Muell.
Common name
ravine orchid
WildNet taxon ID
Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA) status
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) status
Conservation significant
Pest status
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii is an orchid that can grow into extensive mats covering whole rock faces. Stems are freely branched and usually pendulous. They are normally 50cm long, but can reach 1.2m and are covered in old leaf bases. The upper stem has 4-8 dark green, long and narrow leaves 6-20cm long by 1-1.5cm wide. The leaves can be straight or curved, are fairly thin, fleshy, brittle and generally twisted near the base.
One to four arching to pendulous flower stalks can grow from the stem. Flower heads are 10-20cm long, simple and unbranched with 4-15 stalked flowers. The flowers are 2.5-3.5cm across with the tepals (petals and sepals) widely spreading and not overlapping. The oval-shaped tepals have a short stalk and are white with blotches of pink to crimson extending from the base and occasionally covering the whole tepal. The central column-like petal (labellum) is short, 5-6mm long and projects forward. It is thick-textured and waxy with three lobes; the two side lobes curving upwards. Seed capsules of S. fitzgeraldii are cylindrical and up to 8.5cm long.
S. fitzgeraldii can be confused with S. hartmannii. However, S. hartmannii tends to be a more erect plant, with paler green, thicker, deeply channelled and more sickle shaped leaves. S. hartmannii generally has more flowers (5-25) which are less widely spreading, the tepals usually touching each other, and the side lobes of the labellum being broader and straighter. (Barker 1997)
View Map
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii grows on rocks or cliffs in moist, shady situations in gorges and ravines in the foothills of ranges. It occurs in open and closed, subtropical and temperate rainforest and seldom encountered at altitudes higher than 600m above sea level. Plants occur occasionally on moss covered bases of large trees. (Barker 1997; DEWHA 2008)
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii flowers from October to November. Growth is slow but it can recolonise areas if left undisturbed. (Barker 1997)
Threatening processes
Collecting, weed invasion.
Management documents
Conservation and management of protected plants in trade in Queensland 1995-1998. Department of Environment.
Contributors: Weslawa Misiak 10/09/1998; Peter Bostock, Mellisa Mayhew 13/03/2009
Barker, M. (1997). Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii, in Species Management Manual. Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane.
Clements, M.A. (1989). Catalogue of Australian Orchidaceae. Australian Orchid Research 1: 1-160.
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008). Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Accessed 24/10/2008.
Dockrill, A.W. (1992). Australian Indigenous Orchids. Volume 1 & 2. Surrey Beatty & Sons in association with The Society for Growing Australian Plants, Chipping Norton, NSW.
Herbrecs (2008). Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii, in BriMapper version 2.12. Queensland Herbarium. Accessed 24/10/2008.
Profile author
Peter Bostock (13/03/2009)

Other resources

Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

More species information

Get a list of species for your area or find other wildlife information.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 May 2024