Pterostylis alobula


Pterostylis: winged column

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 alobula (Hatch) L.B.Moore



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 trullifolia var. alobula Hatch; Pterostylis crypta Nicholls Diplodium alobulum (Hatch) D.L.Jones, Molloy et M.A.Clem.


Endemic. New Zealand: Three Kings, Poor Knights, North, South and Chatham Islands. In the South Island found in the east as far south as South Canterbury and the lower Waitaki Valley, and in the west as far south as Cape Foulwind.


Coastal to montane (up to 1100 m a.s.l.). Usually on the forest floor in sparse leaf litter, open clay pans under scrub or amongst mosses in semi-shaded successional forest. Occasional invades rough pasture and lawns bordering forest remnants. Often growing with Pterostylis trullifolia


Terrestrial, colony forming, perennial herb. Plants at flowering up to 150 mm tall. Stem green or reddish-green, slender, terete, smooth; internodes rarely > leaves. Petiolate leaves in separate loose rosette or more or less loosely spaced up the lower part of flowering stem; petiole up to 10 mm long, initially distinct soon merging into leaf lamina on lower cauline leaves; leaf lamina 5-15 x 4-15 mm, dark green or green, broad-ovate, orbicular-cordate to trowel-shaped, apex acute to subacute, upper leaf surface smooth. Cauline leaves 2-6, mostly all sessile, 5-25 x 3-6 mm, dark green to green, linear to narrow-lanceolate or narrow-elliptic, uppermost slightly overtopping ovary. Flower 1(-2) erect, pale green and white striped. Dorsal sepal 20-25 mm tall, apex acuminate, usually horizontal; lateral sepals diverging at a wide angle to form a V shape when viewed from the front, sinus smoothly rounded and not jugate in side view, tips long-caudate and much overtopping galea. Petals almost as long as dorsal sepal, with the exposed marginal strip of medium width, and often nearly horizontal. Labellum arched and protruding, basal portion lanceolate, gradually tapering to mid-length, then abruptly contracted; margins recurved such that distal third is linear in outline and deeply channelled beneath, apex bluntly truncate. Column shorter than labellum; stigma elliptic, slightly prominent.

Similar Taxa

Most often confused with Pterostylis trullifolia, with which it often grows. From that species it is easily distinguished by the presence of loose rosettes, or their complete absence, and that the rosette leaves have smooth rather than embossed surfaces. The flowers of P. alobula are bigger and usually paler green coloured than P. trullifolia. The lateral sepals when in side view are smooth and rounded, lacking the jugate shape typical of P. alveata, P. brumalis. and P. trullifolia.


March to November

Flower Colours



May - January

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = c.50

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Not commercially 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. This view, in the process of being adopted by the Australian Plants Names Index, is followed here.



Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970)

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

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

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

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 8 May 2017