Pterostylis tasmanica


Pterostylis: winged column
tasmanica: Named after Abel Janzoon Tasman (1603-1659) who in the 17th century was the first European to sight Van Dieman's land (now known as Tasmania)

Common Name(s)

Plumed Greenhood

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

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 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered
2004 - Serious Decline


2012 - EF, SO
2009 - EF, PD, SO


Pterostylis tasmanica D.L.Jones



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



Plumatichilos tasmanicum (D.L.Jones) D.L.Szlach.


Indigenous to Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand known from The Three Kings Islands, Northland, Waikato, Wellington and Nelson.


Scrub or forest margins, in damp mossy areas or drier more exposed sites. Often under gorse or manuka on clay hillsides.


Tuberous, terrestrial spring to summer-green, glabrous orchid either solitary or growing in loose groups. Plants at flowering up to 180 mm tall. Stem wiry, smooth, enclosed in 3(-6) foliaceous leaves. Rosette leaves (4-)8(-18); petiole 6-15 mm long, distinctly winged; lamina 15-25 x 6-8 mm, yellow-green to dark green, broadly ovate, elliptical to elliptical-lanceolate, acute; cauline leaves 1-2, narrower and broadly sheathing (closely embracing the stem). Flower 1(-2), up to 25 mm long, clearly separated from subtending foliaceous bract; translucent green with dark green longitudinal and transverse veins, brownish towards galea apex and lateral sepals, galea erect in proximal 2/3 then obliquely erect or curved forwards nearly at 90 degrees. Dorsal sepal 18-23 x 12-13 mm, inflated at base and tapered to apex, with a short filiform apex 0.5-1.5 mm long; lateral sepals deflexed; conjoined part 7-9 x 3-4 mm, tapered to c.2 mm across at the base, with a thickened, dark green central pad, the margins incurved; free points 7-11 mm long, linear, usually brown, parallel or slightly divergent, apex subacute. Petals asymmetric, falcate 15-20 x 1.5-2.0 mm, dark green, narrowed in distal 1/2 to an attenuate, long-acuminate apex. Labellum prominent, protruding from sinus, arching, 13.0-15.0 x 0.5 mm, linear-filiform, clad for most of its length in long yellow plumose cilia, apex terminated by a dark brown, glabrous, somewhat irregular, spheroidal, knob-like callus 2.0 x 1.3 mm. Column erect, 12-14 mm long; column wings 4-5 mm long, basal lobe 1.5 x 1.0 mm, set at an angle of 20 degrees, inner margins incurved, sparsely white ciliate, apex obtuse; mid-section 3 mm long, transparent; apical lobe 1.8 mm long, shortly rostrate. Pollinia 2 mm long, yellow, oblong, mealy. Capsule asymmetrical, 1.2-1.6 x 6.0-8.0 mm, obovoid.

Similar Taxa



October - December.

Flower Colours



November - February

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild. Strongly mycorrhizal this species will not flourish in cultivation and within a few years it exhausts itself and dies.


Lack of fires, competition from weeds (gorse) and over-collection by orchid enthusiasts. This species requires frequent disturbance, usually from fires to maintain an open habitat.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.50, 50-54

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not available.


Jane et al. (2010) following a thorough rDNA (ITS) based analysis of the segregate genera erected for Pterostylis R.Br. by Szlachekto (2001) and Jones et al. (2002) found no support to continue their recognition (though that study did treat those orchids referred to Plumatichilos as Pterostylis sect. Catochilus Benth.). This view in the process of being adopted by the Australian Plants Names Index is followed here. Accordingly Plumatichilos is again treated here as Pterostylis.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange 7 April 2007: Description adapted from Jones (1994).

References and further reading

Janes, J.K.; Dorothy A. S.; Vaillancourt, R.E.; Duretto, M.F. 2010: A new classification for subtribe Pterostylidinae (Orchidaceae), reaffirming Pterostylis in the broad senseAustralian Systematic Botany 23: 260–269

Jones, D.L. 1994: New species of Orchidaceae from south-eastern Australia. Muelleria 8: 177-192.

Jones, D.L.; Clements, M.A.; Molloy, B.P.J 2002: A Synopsis of the Subtribe Pterostylidinae. Australian Orchid Research 4: 129-146.

Szlachekto, D.L. 2001: Genera et Species Orchidalium 1. Polish Botanical Journal 46: 11-26.

This page last updated on 13 Nov 2014