Bulbophyllum tuberculatum


tuberculatum: bearing little tubers

Common Name(s)

None Known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp


Bulbophyllum tuberculatum Colenso



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Adelopetalum tuberculatum (Colenso) D.L.Jones, M.A.Clem. et Molloy


Endemic. North and South islands, from Kaitaia south to Wellington, and in Marlborough and North West Nelson. Probably more widespread than this as easily overlooked.


An epiphytic plant, usually found on trunks and inner branches of trees in lowland or coastal districts. Favoured trees seem to be matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia (D.Don) de Laub.), kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (A.Rich.) de Laub.), rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum Lamb.), totara (Podocarpus totara), tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa G.Benn.), hinau (Elaeocarpus dentatus (J.R.Forst. et G.Forst.) Vahl) and rewarewa (Knightia excelsa R.Br.), It is always found with grey lichens of the genus Rimelia Hale et A.Fletcher, Physcia (Schred.) Michx., Heterodermia Trevis., and Ramalina Ach., and often threaded through the climbing fern Pyrrosia eleagnifolia (Bory) Hovenkamp.


Epiphytic orchid forming tightly clumped masses up to 60 mm diameter on canopy branches and trunks of forest trees. Roots numerous, threaded tightly through encrusting lichens and other epiphytic plants. Pseudobulbs conpsicuous, 6-18 x 3-6 mm, green to dark green, ovoid to narrowly ovoid, turgid, smooth surface often spotted with white mealy cells. Apex surmounted by tightly clasping, much reduced scale leaf. Leaf appearing sessile, usually solitary (rarely 2), up to 50 x 5 mm, dark green to purple-green, linear-oblong, acute, glabrous. Flowers racemose, 1-several-flowered, peduncle 10-20 mm long arising from base of pseudobulb; floral bracts triangular, pedicels very short. Ovary minutely tuberculate. Perianth 4 mm long, all aprts except labellum, white to whitish-pink. Dorsal sepal narrow-ovate; lateral similar but broader to triangular-ovate, slightly pouched at base. Petals smaller, ovate, obtuse. Labellum mobile on long slender claw; oblong-obovate to sub-hastate, orange to red, fading toward a yellow base; proximal part with 2 raised ridges, margins recurved at apex. Column short, 2-winged at apex. Capsules ovoid.

Similar Taxa

None in New Zealand.


(September) - November - April

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


November - August

Propagation Technique

Not well known. Pieces taken from fallen branches have been successfully cultivated in standard orchid mix, or when strapped to a suitable branch, and these plants have frequently flowered. It is probably very easy to grow


Probably quite common, but easily overlooked, and current records imply it is naturally sparse. There have been some documented instances where accessible populations have been stripped bare by plant collectors, which is probably the only serious threat to this species. For this reason it is better to use caution when disclosing new findings.

Chromosome No.

2n = 38

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Taxonomic Notes

The transfer of Bulbophyllum tuberculatum to Adelopetalum was made with minimal explanation. Recently Australian orchidologists have rejected Adelopetalum in favour of a broader circumscription of Bulbophyllum (P. Weston pers. comm. 2014), this view is accepted here.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2007: Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970).

References and further reading

Anonymous. 1962. Bulbophyllum tuberculatum Col. Auckland Botanical Society Journal 19: 1-2.

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

Moss, T.C. 1968. Notes on Bulbophyllum tuberculatum(Orchidaceae). Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin 35: 36-39


This page last updated on 3 Dec 2014