Bulbophyllum minutissimum

Red bead orchid

This epiphytic or lithophytic orchid grows on rocks in open forests around Brisbane. It grows on north facing rock faces with little or no protection from the sun. Its tiny bulbs can easily be confused with moss.

It consists of strings of crowded flattened spherical pseudobulbs 2 to 3 mm diameter. The pseudobulbs are green where the plant grows in shade but red when growing in full sun. 

The pseudobulbs have tiny leaves 1 to 2 mm long on young bulbs which die on the older bulbs. The plant has short stubby roots 1 mm long which are only just long enough to secure the pseudobulbs to the rock.

The flower stem is 2 to 3 mm topped by a single flower about 3 mm across which is cream with red stripes.

This tiny orchid cannot be confused with any other orchid when in flower.

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