Australian Tropical Rainforest Orchids

Tropidia territorialis

Striped Crown Orchid

Tropidia territorialis D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem, Orchadian 14(8); Suppl. xi-xii (2004). Type: Northern Territory. Wagait Reserve, 17 Dec. 1983, C.R. Dunlop 6390 (holo DNA).


Occurs in the northern part of the Northern Territory, where it is known from about five localities including Groote Eylandt.

Altitude: 0-200 m.


Terrestrial herb forming slender clumps. Roots unbranched, wiry, with fleshy ovoid tubercules. Stems erect, 10-20 cm long, thin, fibrous. Leaves 3-6, scattered along upper part of stem, erect to prostrate, bases sheathing stem; lamina ovate to lanceolate, 7-12 cm x 1.5-2 cm, dark green, thin-textured, pleated, 5 veins prominent, apex acute. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 10-20 mm long, flowers tightly clustered at apex; pedicels 5-10 mm long. Flowers 10-20, crowded, non-resupinate, porrect, 8-10 mm x 6-8 mm, green and white with white labellum, thick-textured. Petals and sepals fused at base, opening widely in distal half. Dorsal sepal obliquely deflexed, ovate, 4-6 mm x 2.5-3 mm, apex acute. Lateral sepals 4-6 mm x 2.5-3 mm, inner margins basally fused, gibbous in proximal half, divergent and recurved in distal half, apex acute. Petals projecting to obliquely spreading, 4-5 mm x 3 mm. Labellum unlobed, fused to base of column, 5-6 mm x 3.5-4 mm, basal pouch lobed, apex decurved, shallowly emarginate. Column erect, 3 mm long. Column foot absent. Capsules porrect, dehiscent.


Occurs in monsoon rainforests where it grows in deep shade in stony soil, black peaty soil or grey loam. The plants are small and inconspicuous and are easily confused with young Supplejack plants (Flagellaria indica), a common climber in the area. The unbranched roots have small tuber-like growths (tubercles) attached.

Highly localised.

Flowering period: December-January.

Name Changes

Unitl recently confused withTropidia curculigoides.

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