Pterostylis montana


Pterostylis: winged column
montana: From the Latin mons 'mountain', meaning growing on mountains

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Pterostylis montana Hatch



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





Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Exact distirbution unclear as this is a species complex


Lowland to subalpine (up to 1200 m a.s.l.) in a wide range of habitats from dense forest to restiad peat bogs. An extremely variable species which probably comprises several as yet unnamed entities. Until these are teased out the exact ecological preferences of P. montana s.s. are difficult to describe.


Terrestrial, tuberous, glabrous, spring to summer-green perennial herb, either solitary in forming small patches of 3-10 plants through vegetative extension. Plant at flowering 30-350 mm tall. Stem erect, smooth, dark green, bronze-green to reddish green, internodes << leaves. Leaves up to 6, strongly keeled, with entire margins, size changing from base to top of stem; the largest leaf on stem 140-180 x 10 mm usually smaller, green to yellow-green, lower leaves and leaves of non-flowering plants broadly lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, otherwise linear-lanceolate with acuminate apices, widest near the sessile sheathing base, more or less overtopping the flower. Flower solitary, erect or tipping forwards, small and almost broadly tabular, bronze-green, dark green to yellow green, usually striped with white, cream or pale green toward the back of the galea. Ovary erect. Dorsal sepal 18-30 mm tall, erect then sharply horizontal, apex horizontal, abruptly truncate and usually acute to shortly acuminate; lateral sepals separating from each other early in bud, diverging at a narrow to wide angle, more or less erect, apices acuminate not greatly exceeding galea in mature flower often twisted or recurving forwards. Petals slightly shorter than dorsal sepal, broad right to tip. Labellum basally red or reddish green, apex often distinctly darker; lamina mostly oblong to elongate-oblong, slightly arcuate, broad almost to the constricted, subacute and twisted (usually to the right when viewed from the front); margins deflexed (appearing pinched in) about the almost excurrent midrib. Column as tall as or slightly more than labellum; stigma shortly and broadly oval to cordate, prominent.

Similar Taxa

At least seven forms are currently known as P. montana, these are all unified by the slightly arched, broadly oblong, stout labellum whose apex is mostly subacute, constricted and conspicuously twisted to the right (when viewed from the front). The stigma also tends to be broadly to narrowly cordate (heart-shaped) and prominent, the lateral sepals rather shortly erect with the apices often twisted or recurved, and the leaves of flowering plants mostly linear-lanceolate. Some forms seem to grade into P. banksii A.Cunn or P. australis Hook.f. Further taxonomic study is needed.


September - December

Flower Colours



November - March

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, (43), 44

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available

Taxonomic Notes

The type is a unicate collected from Stewart Island. The description for that plant though adequate for its time now covers a wide range of entities and it is not clear to which of these the type now refers (there are at least two entities on Stewart Island). Here NZPCN offer a broad treatment for P. montana recognising that it is a species complex and that further work will undoubtedly recognise possibly as many as five species within the current circumscription of P. montana Hatch.


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