Nature conservation

Threatened species

Spider orchid - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Dendrobium melaleucaphilum
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 27 Oct 2000
Profile last updated: 29 Aug 2018


An orchid which grows on other plants (sometimes on rocks), with stems spreading to drooping, thin and wiry in the basal half, succulent, swollen and square in cross section in the upper half, tapering towards the tip, rooting only at the base, 6 – 45 cm long, 7 – 9 mm in diameter, with 2 – 4 leaves at apex. Roots are smooth and creeping. Leaves spreading to erect, elliptic in shape, 4.5 – 9 cm long, 15 – 25 mm wide, folded flat together lengthwise, gradually tapering to a point, thin, and smooth. Inflorescences (groups of flowers) 0.7 – 4 cm long, comprising 2 – 8 flowers. Sepals and lateral petals green to deep dull yellow with reddish margins or other markings; dorsal sepal 38 – 60 mm long, 2 – 5 mm wide; labellum cream with reddish striations, 10 – 16 mm long, 7 – 9 mm wide. Column 2.5 – 4 mm long; column foot 6 – 10 mm long. Very similar to the closely related D. tetragonum which has dorsal sepal 19 – 30 mm long and labellum only up to 10 mm long.


Occurs in coastal districts and nearby ranges, extending from Queensland to its southern distributional limit in the lower Blue Mountains. In NSW, it is currently known from seven recent collections. There has been no subsequent confirmation from the locations of three earlier (pre-1922) collections and it is possible that these are now extinct.

Habitat and ecology

  • Grows frequently on Melaleuca styphelioides, less commonly on rainforest trees or on rocks in coastal districts.
  • Flowers July–October.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Predicted None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
Sydney BasinWyong Predicted None
Sydney BasinYengo Predicted None