Butterfly Orchid Nadiah Roslan

Butterfly Orchid

Small semi-pendulous epiphytic orchid. 5 - 15 cm across, stems to 5 cm long.


3 - 10 thin leathery oblong, sometimes curved, dark green leaves 2 - 11 cm long and 4 - 17 mm wide.


1 - 4 pendulous sprays of 2 - 17 pale yellowish-green to brown flowers, lip white with yellow tints and purple stripes. Sepals and petals narrowly spoon-shaped, spreading; lip short, 3-lobed, projecting forward, side lobes broad, erect, curved inwards.

Field Guide

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Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Presence

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • No flowering

Climate Adaptations

By virtue of their sensitivity to the changes in the climate, epiphytes and orchids provide a forewarning about impending damages and act as bio-indicators.

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • Year round
  • Flowering time October to December

Where To Look

  • Found between the Hunter River in NSW through south-eastern Victoria to northern Tasmania
  • Epiphytic on mossy branches and trunks in fern gullies of cool rainforest and tall closed forest
  • Look in fern gullies and gorges and on stream banks in rainforests
  • Although scattered and uncommon, it can be locally abundant
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Plant hosts in Morwell National Park, Victoria are varied. In descending order of importance they include: Pittosporum undulatum, Coprosma quadrifida, Pomaderris aspera, Olearia argophylla, Rapanea howittiana, Cassinia longifolia.