An Extension To The Range Of Dockrillia (Dendrobium) linguiforme (Swartz) var. nugentii (Bailey)

Note: This article was written before the Dockrillia genus was created to accommodate the terete members of the Dendrobium genus. At this time, 2018, both Dendrobium and Dockrillia are both used by various botanists when referring to section Rhizobium members of the Dendrobium genus. I tend to favour Dockrillia. However, at present it is not accepted by the seat of botanical wisdom at Kew Botanic Gardens in England. Therefore, either generic name is acceptable.

It was only when I was writing up the preceding notes on B. weinthalii, and relating the other orchids growing with it, that I started wondering about the southern distribution of Dockrillia linguiformis variety nugentii.

We had found this tropical variety of the tongue or thumbnail orchid, as it is commonly known, to be quite abundant about the mountains west of Gladstone. It was definitely more common on the harsh, hot, exposed rocky outcrops where it often grew into clumps of several square metres. It was nonetheless often seen in the Hoop Pine forests in the shade.

According to the three texts I have consulted, the distribution of D. linguiforme variety nugentii was recorded as follows: Dockrill (1969) Eungella (Mackay); Jones (1988) Eungella (Mackay); Upton (1989) south of Townsville (20 deg. latitude).

In the absence of any other recorded sightings to the contrary, I have every confidence in reporting an extension to the range of D. lingujforme variety nugentii of approximately 400 kms south of its previously accepted southern limits. It is unlikely that specimens of this species would be found in the very dry country between the Calliope Ranges and the Mackay region.

At the time of our visit, the plants of the Calliope Range were in early bud. At the time of writing they have not yet flowered. Because of their probable isolation there is a slim chance that they may be different in some slight way. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the plants are obviously examples of D.linguiforme variety nugentii.

NOTE: Fast forward to 2018. Thousands of specimens have now been seen of this taxa and there are no appreciable differences requiring it to be further separated out. Only feature noticeable however, is the vegetative appearance of the bulbs. They do not attain the leaf/bulb mass, or length and width of the same species from further north.

Nugent Kroombit

Den. linguiforme var. nugentii, flowers in situ, Kroombit Tops, September 2012