Calochilus paludosus


Calochilus: From Greek kalos (beautiful) and cheilos (lip), referring to the attractive labellum
paludosus: of the swamp

Common Name(s)

Bearded Orchid

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - DP, EF, SO, Sp
2009 - SO, EF


Calochilus paludosus R.Br.



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





Indigenous. North and northern South Islands (North West Nelson to northern Westland). Present in Australia where it is very common


A species of disturbed habitats. It is usually found in open gumland scrub or pakihi, on clay pans or on road side banks. Also commonly encountered near geothermally active ground. Sometimes found amongst tussock grassland in upper montane situations.


Slender to stout orchid 150-900 mm tall. Stem erect, light green to yellow-green (sometimes glaucous). Leaf fleshy, linear-lanceolate, yellow-green to green, channelled, sheathing at base apex acute. Cauline bracts similar but much shorter. Inflorescence a raceme of (1-)2(-4) flowers. Floral bracts narrow, acute, overtopping ovary. Perianth mostly green, except for bright reddish lamina and red to red-violet cilia of labellum (cilia copious, rather long). Dorsal sepal 10-15 mm long, broad-elliptic, acute, somewhat folded about column; lateral sepals similar though smaller. Petals shorter, obliquely deltoid, apex subacute, directed toward dorsal sepal, green finely striped with red. Labellum green suffused with red or purple, with a reddish apex, not much larger than sepals and petals; ligulate apex, bare rather long, tapering, straight; disc broad with dense long processes; base covered with numerous small, acute purple-red, maroon to red calli, and on each side of these are two short, erect, intramarginal greenish plate-like calli. Column wings with out basal glands or calli.

Similar Taxa

Of the three species of Calochilus R.Br. known from New Zealand, C. paludosus is easily distinguished by the column-wings which lack basal glands, by the ligulate, glabrous and rather long and conspicuously tapering apex of the labellum.


(September-) October-December

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


October - February

Propagation Technique

Impossible to cultivate. It should not be removed from the wild.


Habitat loss and plant collectors are the main threats to this attractive bearded orchid

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

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 (1970)

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 25 May 2014