"The floral emblem of Queensland"
Considered to be one of Australia's showiest orchids
Cooktown Orchid - (Dendrobium phalaenopsis)
Cooktown Orchid are found in northern Queensland and used to grow in abundance around Cooktown but today is quite rare. The plant grows up to 80 cm in height and can have from 3 to 20 flowering canes up to 1.5 cm in diameter. The stems that hold the flowers are 10 to 40 cm long and can carry a number of flowers.
The flowers that are normally deep to pale lilac in colour and about 3 to 6 cm wide. The common name, Cooktown Orchid, refers to Cooktown in northern Queensland which is situated on the Endeavour River which was named by Captain Cook after his ship was repaired there in 1770.
It usually flowers in the dry season in the wild, and sometimes flowering all through year when cultivated.
It grows naturally in northern Queensland, even tho it is not rainforest species it can be found in tropical areas with very high summer rainfall. It also grows in exposed situations, attaching to trees like the paperbark.
Cooktown Orchid makes an ideal cut flower especially in autumn and winter months and can last up to two weeks. On the plant flowers are able to last for some months making it an ideal plant flowering plant for interior decoration as lond as it is placed into suitable for warm and well lit rooms.
The Cooktown Orchid is considered to be one of Australia's showiest orchids and has been successfully cultivated in heated glasshouses. The plant has been in England since the latter part of the nineteenth century. In more recent times exports have been made from Australia to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the United States of America.
On 19 November 1959 the Cooktown Orchid, was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Queensland.