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

Family: Orchidaceae
Lyperanthus nigricans

Citation: R. Br., Prod. Fl. Nov. Holl. 325 (1810).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Red-beak orchid, fire orchid, undertaker orchid, red-beaks, black orchid.

A stout plant, 10-30 cm high; leaf radical, orbicular-cordate or broadly ovate-cordate, fleshy, of variable size, sometimes 10 cm long, green often spotted red; stem bracts usually 2, loosely sheathing, leaf-like, rather blunt, often 3-4 cm long.

Flowers 2-8, purple or with dark-purple stripes, lightly perfumed; ovary and pedicel included in a capacious bract which also envelopes the perianth; dorsal sepal usually light-coloured with purple stripes, broadly lanceolate, much incurved, often c. 25 mm long; lateral sepals spreading or deflexed, dark-purple, linear, free, same length as the dorsal one; petals similar to lateral sepals but recurved or spreading; labellum sessile, obovate-lanceolate, c. 15 mm long, 3-lobed, lighter coloured with purple veins and a dark tip; lateral lobes erect, clasping the column; the middle one with a rather blunt tip, much recurved, fringed or deeply denticulate; lamina with a wide smooth longitudinal raised line or band between the lateral lobes; a few minute sessile white calli distributed towards the tip and lateral margins; apex with a few similar calli on the undersurface; column at first erect, then incurved, c. 12 mm long, very narrowly winged; anther terminal, incumbent, with a rather blunt fleshy point; pollinia 2, elongated, each 2-lobed, very powdery, no attachment by caudicle or otherwise to the rostellum; stigma very prominent, circular or lobulate, its upper margin thickened into a convex rostellum in close contact with the bases of the pollinia.

Published illustration: Fitzgerald (1878) Australian orchids vol. 1, pt 4; Clyne (1970) Australian ground orchids, p. 50; Cady & Rotherham (1970) Australian native orchids in colour, pl. 61; Hoffman & Brown (1984) Orchids of southwest Australia, p. 344.

Distribution:  Forms small to extensive colonies in sandy or gravelly soils in heavy to open forest, scrub or heathland in areas of greater than 250 mm mean annual rainfall. Flowering more prolifically after bushfires.

  W.Aust.; N.S.W.; Vic.; Tas.

Conservation status: native

Flowering time: Sept. — Oct.

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

Biology: No text

Author: Not yet available

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