Pterostylis patens


Pterostylis: winged column
patens: Spreading

Common Name(s)

Tutukiwi, Greenhood

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 patens Colenso



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 banksii var. patens (Colenso) Hatch, Pterostylis speciosa Colenso, Pterostylis subsimilis Colenso


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands from about Mt Pirongia south.


Mostly montane to subalpine (up t0 1200 m a.s.l.) but extending to lower altitudes in the southern Wairarapa and Rimutaka Ranges. Frequenting beech (Nothofagaceae) forest but also found in montane cloud forest, and under subalpine scrub, usually in damp, semi-shaded sites. Often found in thick patches of moss or deep, drifts of leaf litter.


Terrestrial, tuberous, glabrous, spring to summer-green perennial herb, forming dense colonies of numerous plants through vegetative extension. Plant at flowering 100-480 mm tall. Stem stiffly erect, smooth, green, dark green to reddish green, internodes very short near base, otherwise shorter than leaves throughout. Leaves 4-6, sessile, stiffly erect, dark green to reddish green with entire margins; in sterile plants lamina of similar size, oblong-elliptic to broadly lanceolate; in flowering plants lamina scarcely changing from base to top of stem; lamina of largest leaves 50-180 x 10-20 mm, broadly lanceolate, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, prominently and deeply keeled, often with 2-3 laterals on either side of midrib, apex acute, acuminate, base wider than rest of lamina broadening into a long sheathing base; more or less even within base of flower, rarely slightly overtopping flower. Flower solitary, erect, front mostly green finely striped with white, stripes of white widening toward back of galea with green narrowing, with the back often completely. Ovary erect. Dorsal sepal distinctly globose, 40-50 mm tall, erect, distal portion initially horizontal, soon steeply inclined, apex steeply keeled, tapering to a strongly deflexed caudate tip up to 30 mm long; lateral sepals diverging at a narrow angle, caudae of lobes up to 40 mm long, tapered, strongly deflexed down and sometimes meeting behind ovary. Petals much shorter than dorsal sepal with acuminate apices. Labellum elliptic-oblong, scarcely arched, flat in cross-section, narrowing slightly towards tip, bending forwarding smoothly and symmetrical, protruding from lateral sepals sinus, midrib initially prominent soon evanescent toward the obtuse, emarginate, often cucullate apex. Column as tall as or slightly taller than labellum; stigma ellipsoid, scarcely distinguished from column and rather flat.

Similar Taxa

Closest to P. oliveri Petrie, from which it differs by the stiffly erect rather than weakly erect, decumbent or sprawling growth habit, broadly lanceolate to linear-lanceolate (grassy) rather than oval to broadly elliptic leaves; and by the lateral sepals whose caudae are consistently strongly deflexed back and down, sometimes meeting at the back of the ovary, rather than mostly erect. Pterostylis patens was placed in Flora II of the New Zealand Flora series (Moore & Edgar 1970) within P. banksii. From that widespread and variable species it differs by the much larger, distinctly globose flower, by the greatly attenuated and strongly deflexed dorsal and lateral sepals, and by the mostly wider grassy leaves. Both species are frequently sympatric in the central North Island.


November - January

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

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) and Hatch (2005).

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington and St George, I.; Irwin, B.

Hatch, D. 2005: Field guide to the New Zealand orchids. New Zealand Native Orchid Group, Wellington.

This page last updated on 27 Jan 2015