Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Orchidaceae
Microtis rara

Citation: R. Br., Prod. Fl. Nov. Holl. 321 (1810).

Synonymy: M. brownii Reichb. f., Beitr. Syst. Pfl. (1871); M. oblonga R. Rogers, Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 47:339 (1923). , Microtis unifolia

Common name: Sweet onion-orchid.

Slender green plant, 15-45 cm high; leaf 20-50 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, often exceeding the spike, gradually tapering to a long slender apex.

Spike lax, 5-22 cm long; flowers 5-50 usually 10-30, spreading, distant, green, fragrant, shortly pedicellate; ovary ellipsoid, broader toward the recurved apex, standing out from the scape; dorsal sepal ovate, 3-4 x 1.5-2 mm, almost erect, narrowly hooded, the apex slightly recurved margins paler coloured; lateral sepals linear-oblong, 2-3 x c. 0.8 mm, spreading, recurved or tightly revolute; petals falcate-lanceolate, 2-2.5 x c. 0.8 mm, erect, widely spreading, only the posterior margins at the base overlapped by the dorsal sepal; labellum more or less oblong, 3-5 x 1-1.5 mm, usually constricted about the middle, reflexed against the slender ovary, the margins crenulate, with 2 large callosities 0.5-1.2 mm diam., near the base and 1 near the apex; column short and stout, c. 1.2 x c. 0.8 mm, with relatively large auricles; stigma semilunate, concave; rostellum broadly triangular; anther hemispherical, cucullate; pollinia coherent.

Published illustration: Fitzgerald (1884) Australian orchids vol. 2, pt 1 as M. parviflora; Clyne (1970) Australian ground orchids, p. 68 as M. oblonga; Hoffman & Brown (1984) Orchids of south-west Australia, p. 238 as M. brownii.

Distribution:  Uncommon plant occurring in small groups around permanent swamp margins often in deeply shaded places and flowering more freely after bushfires.

S.Aust.: SE.   W.Aust.; Qld; N.S.W.; Vic.; Tas.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: Nov. — Jan.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: A putative hybrid with M. unifolia can set up extensive clonal populations in disturbed environments.

Author: Not yet available

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