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 Sarcochilus subsp. var.  Fairy orchid
Sarcochilus fitzgeraldii
Habit: orchid
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Features: flowers
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Orchidaceae > Sarcochilus var. ,

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Sarcochilus borealis by Lewis Roberts.
Sarcochilus hirticalcar by Lewis Roberts.

The genus Sarcochilus, abbreviated as Sarco in horticultural trade, is a member of the Orchid family (Orchidaceae), consisting of 25 species endemic to Northern Australia, Eastern Australia, Tasmania and New Caledonia.

The name Sarcochilus is derived from the Greek words sarx ( = flesh) and cheilos ( = lip), referring to the fleshy labellum of these orchids.

The genus Sarcochilus is shown to be non-monophyletic [1]

These are epiphytic or lithophytic orchids with leaves originating from a pseudobulb. The axillary, racemose inflorescence is pendant to arching with a few to many, successive opening flowers with free petals and sepals. The colour of the flowers is variable and goes from pure white (S. falcatus) to white and red (S. fitzgeraldii). The trilobed, fleshy labellum is saccate ( = pouch-like) and articulate to the apex of the column foot. The large side lobes are erect and curved. The small midlobe is attached to a short spur. Some of these species can form keikis, forming large clumps with age.

Many species have become endangered or vulnerable, due to illegal collecting.



Pests and diseases



The species S. falcatus, S. fitzgeraldii and S. hartmannii have been hybridized, often with S. australis, producing rounder, cherry-red flowers. A few examples are : S.. Fitzhart (hartmannii x fitzgeraldii), S. Tin Yin Lara (Melody x fitzgeraldii), S. Southern Cross (hartmannii x australis) and S.. Otways Sunset (Fitzhart x australis).

Intrageneric hybrids include

  • x Aeridochilus (Aerides x Sarcochilus)
  • x Gastrosarcochilus (Gastrochilus x Sarcochilus)
  • x Luichilus (Luisia x Sarcochilus)
  • x Malcolmcampbellara (Drymoanthus x Plectorrhiza x Sarcochilus)
  • x Parachilus (Parasarcochilus x Sarcochilus)
  • x Plectochilus (Plectorrhiza x Sarcochilus)
  • x Pomatochilus (Pomatocalpa x Sarcochilus)
  • x Porterara (Rhynchostylis x Sarcochilus x Vanda)
  • x Rhinochilus (Rhinerrhiza x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sarcocentrum (Ascocentrum x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sarcomoanthus (Sarcochilus x Drymoanthus)
  • x Sarconopsis (Phalaenopsis x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sarcorhiza (Rhinerrhiza x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sarcothera (Renanthera x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sarcovanda (Sarchilus x Vanda)
  • x Sartylis (Rhynchostylis x Sarcochilus)
  • x Sladeara (Doritis x Phalaenopsis x Sarcochilus)
  • x Uptonara (Phalaenopsis x Rhynchostylis x Sarcochilus)



  1. Topik Hidayat, Tomohisa Yukawa and Motomi Ito (August 2005). "Molecular phylogenetics of subtribe Aeridinae (Orchidaceae): insights from plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences". Journal of Plant Research 118 (4): 271–284. doi:10.1007/s10265-005-0217-3. 

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