Pterostylis foliata


Pterostylis: winged column
foliata: Leafy

Common Name(s)

Grassland Greenhood

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 - Not Threatened


2012 - SO, Sp


Pterostylis foliata Hook.f.



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



Pterostylis gracilis Nicholls, Pterostylis vereenae R.S.Rogers


Indigenous. In New Zealand known from the North and South Islands. Present also in Australia


Coastal to montane (up to 800 m a s.l.) in grassland, amongst low scrub, within open forest and within plantation forest. Often found growing with the adders tongue fern (Ophioglossum coriaceum A.Cunn.).


Terrestrial, tuberous, glabrous, spring to summer-green perennial herb, either solitary or forming small colonies of 3-6 plants through vegetative extension. Plant at flowering 150-400 mm tall. Stem stiffly erect, smooth or sparsely and unevenly puberulent, dark green to yellow green; usually elongating following fruit set; upper internodes usually longer than stem leaves. Basal leaves 2-4, yellow-green to dark green, sessile, arranged in a more or less loose to crowded rosette; lamina up to 80 x 25 mm, elliptic, margins smooth, crisped or undulose, apex subacute, gradually narrowed into a short, winged petiole. Cauline leaves 1-2, yellow-green to green, 20-30 mm long, more or less foliaceous, closely sheathing, uppermost sometimes reaching but scarcely overtopping flower. Flower solitary, erect, white with broad green to greenish-brown stripes, often brown toward the apex. Ovary erect, papillose. Dorsal sepal 20-30 x 20 mm long, erect for two thirds of length then curving forwards, apex acute and more or less horizontal, extending no further than petals; lateral sepals closely embracing galea, papillose on the fused portion, sinus narrow, not protruding, diverging at a narrow angle, tips caudate up to 18 mm long and overtopping galea. Petals only a littler shorter than dorsal sepal, broad almost to apex. Labellum dark green above and paler beneath, protruding, narrow-triangular, arched, tapering to a narrowly obtuse apex, margins slightly upturned. Column shorter than labellum; stigma elliptic, more or less prominent.

Similar Taxa

None. The yellow-green to dark green plants, with their stiffly erect stems bearing closely sheathing bract like leaves; basal leaves which are arranged in a loose rosette, and usually with crisped or wavy margins; and small, erect brownish flowers readily distinguish this species from all other indigenous Pterostylis species.


October - December

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild. Basic orchid mix consists of 2 parts medium coarse sand, ideally clean river sand; 2 parts soil, humus or leaf-mould; 1 part weathered sawdust or rotting wood; 1 part granulated bark. For Pterostylis shade of 50% and pots kept evenly moist.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 44-46

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


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

References and further reading

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

This page last updated on 31 Oct 2014