Adenochilus gracilis


Adenochilus: From the Greek aden (gland) and cheilos (lip)
gracilis: slender

Common Name(s)

None known

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


Adenochilus gracilis 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





Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. Present from the Coromandel Range south.


In the northern part of its range usually montane otherwise widespread in lowland to alpine habitats. A species of thick moss mats or deep drifts of semi-decomposed leaf litter under forest, subalpine scrub or in sphagnum moss bordering wetlands. Often found in exotic forests, particularly pine plantations.


Gracile, terrestrial, rhizomatous, perennial herb without tubers. Plant at flowering up to 200 mm tall. Stem erect, slender. Leaves, glabrous, petiolate and cauline. Petiolate leaf arising from rhizome, separate and usually well spaced from flowering stem, emerging through a cylindrical sheath-like leaf, 10-30 mm long, green ovate to ovate-oblong or oblong, base cordate, apex acute to subacute; cauline leaf sessile, inserted about half-way up stem, 10-20 mm long, green, ovate to ovate-oblong, acute to subacute, base more or less cordate, occasionally shallowly notched. Flower usually solitary, rarely paired, subtended by 1-2 floral bracts. Perianth 10-20 mm diameter, external surfaces shortly and finely glandular pubescent. Sepals lanceolate, acute; dorsal sepal greenish, concave, strongly arched over column and fused to it near base; lateral sepals whitish, wide-spreading. Petals similar to sepals. Labellum much shorter and more or less obscured by overhanging dorsal sepal, shortly clawed, semi-erect; disc broad-oblong, mid-lobe narrow and recurved, bearing transverse red to maroon stripes, calli shortly stipitate, spheroidal, yellow, aligned in 2-4 longitudinal rows, extending inwards from broader part of mid-lobe. Column elongate, curved, winged throughout, the wings, membranous, upturned and more or less dentate-lobed above anther, reddish inside pale outside. Anther terminal incurved, pollinia mealy; stigma prominent, rostellum 2-lobed

Similar Taxa

On account of its whitish flowers with their externally glandular pubescent covering Adenochilus is most often confused with species of Petalochilus Rogers (Caladenia R.Br.). From that genus it is easily recognised by its rhizomatous, non-tuberous growth habit, and by its separate, ovate, ovate-oblong, petiolate and cauline leaves. Petalochilus have 1(-2) linear, linear-lanceolate or lanceolate hairy leaves.


October - March

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 38

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).



Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1980).

References and further reading

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

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 29 Apr 2014