Chiloglottis cornuta


cornuta: knobbed

Common Name(s)

bird orchid, ant orchid

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


Chiloglottis cornuta 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



Simpliglottis cornuta (Hook.f.) Szlach.


Indigenous. In New Zealand recorded from North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Antipodes, Campbell and Auckland Islands. Present also in Australia where it is known from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania


Widespread in usually moist, partially shaded situations in lowland to montane (up to 1000 m a.s.l.) indigenous forest or shrubland, rarely fringing wetlands or found growin within mires and peat bogs. Rarely subalpine to alpine. Often found in plantation forestry, especially under pines where it may on occasion grow intermixed with Simpliglottis valida (D.L.Jones) Szlach.


Terrestrial, glabrous herbs. Tubers ovoid. Plant at flowering 40-100 mm tall, at fruit up to 300 mm tall, the mature fruiting capsule held well above the floral bract. Stem erect, fleshy. Leaves 2(-3), usually closely spaced together, otherwise spreading, fleshy, petiolate, petioles short (5-10 mm long); lamina 30-100 x 10-30 mm, green, oblong, oblong-lanceolate to elliptic; apex acute to subacute, base cuneate to attenuate. Flowers 1(-2), erect, usually wedged between or just above leaves. Floral bract with long cylindric sheath; bract attached well below ovary, the intervening portion elongating as fruit ripens; lamina equal in lengthy or greater than ovary, green, sometimes larger, giving the appearance of a third leaf. Perianth 15 mm tall, green, more or less fleshy. Sepals shortly tailed (caudate); dorsal sepal ovate-lanceolate; lateral sepals much narrower, more or less channelled. Petals slightly shorter again, ovate-lanceolate, erect to spreading. Labellum broadly to narrowly triangular, on irritable short claw; margins entire, calli dark green to reddish, more or less globose, with a mainly median/central distribution, two of the calli often forming inturned auricles near the base. Column elongate, erect, almost as long as lip, the foot ending in a transverse thickening; wing narrow to level of stigma, from there wider and extending almost to anther apex in a broad, usually incurved lobe. Anther terminal, apiculate, prominent, discoid, pollinia coherent, finely granular. Stigma prominent, discoid, rostellum small, median.

Similar Taxa

Chiloglottis validus is somewhat similar vagrant species to New Zealand. It is a much larger plant with dark green to almost brown green leaves and greenish-purple to purple-brown flowers. The labellum is ovate-cordate rather than broadly to narrowly triangular, and much more irritable. Chiloglottis validus is strictly insect-pollinated, and lacking its natural pollination vector rarely sets seed in New Zealand. Chiloglottis cornuta is predominantly selfing, so it freely produces capsules. Both species may be found growing together.


September - May

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


October - July

Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a cool, moist, deep, well drained, gritty soil, mulched with well rotted pine needles and bark. Does better in dappled light than full sun. An attractive species which flowers readily in cultivation.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Recently (Miller & Clements 2014) have shown that the segregate genera Myrmechila and Simpliglottis proposed by Szlachekto (2001) and Jones & Clements (2005) should be reduced to synonymy within Chiloglottis. That treatment is followed here.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (10 April 2007). Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970).

References and further reading

Jones, D.L.; Clements, M.A. 2005: Miscellaneous Nomenclatural Notes and Changes in Australian, New Guinea and New Zealand Orchidaceae. The Orchadian 15: 33-42.

Miller J.T.; Clements, M.A. 2014: Molecular phylogenetic analyses of Drakaeinae: Diurideae (Orchidaceae) based on DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region. Australian Systematic Botany 27: 3-22.

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.

This page last updated on 3 Dec 2014