Pterostylis tanypoda


Pterostylis: winged column

Common Name(s)

None Known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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 - Sparse


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


Pterostylis tanypoda D.L.Jones, Molloy et M.A.Clem.



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



Hymenochilus tanypodus (D.L.Jones, Molloy et M.A. Clem.) D.L.Jones, M.A.Clem. et Molloy


Endemic. South Island, east of the main divide from Marlborough to Southland.


montane to subalpine, usually in intermontane basins, on river terraces or on low relief foothills, amongst tussock grasses, in grey scrub or in shingle. Sometimes found in grassland dominated by exotic species.


Somewhat fleshy, glaucescent, inconspicuous orchid 20-100 mm tall when flowering. Stem fleshy, hidden by numerous leafy bracts. Rosette leaves numerous, 5-15 x 5-12 mm; bluish-green to glaucous (rarely yellow-green), ovate, leaf tapering gradually to a broadly winged petiole; cauline leaves similar but smaller. Inflorescence a compact raceme of 1-7 flowers, each partially enclosed within a sheathing floral bract; perianth bluish-green with pale stripes. Dorsal sepal 5-10 mm, broad, apiculate; lateral sepals slightly shorter, almost completely fused into a flat lamina; this apically bidentate, and strongly deflexed in fully opened flower. Petals just shorter than dorsal sepal, the anterior margin smooth. Labellum short, braod, obtuse, prolonged backwards into a smoothly rounded appendage surmounted by a thick, rather prominent, forward jutting median knob. Column short, broad; wings broader than long, ciliate over most of their free margins; stigma oblong.

Similar Taxa

Could only be confused with H. tristis (Colenso) D.L.Jones, M.A.Clem. et Molloy from which it differs in its glaucescent rather than brownish-green foliage and blue-green to green rather than brownish-green flowers. In H. tristis the labellum base possesses a backward projecting decurved appendage, while in H. tanypodus the labellum is even more strongly deflexed and it is always surmounted with a prominent. smooth forward-pointing knob. While H. tristis can occasionally be glaucescent, H. tanypodus is never brown-green. The two species may grow together.


October - January

Flower Colours



November - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


An apparently naturally uncommon biologically sparse species. However, its preferred habitat of open, short tussock grassland has been extensively modified and it very probably has declined in the past. The problem is one cannot quantify this. Furthermore, this species is easily overlooked and so its exact distirbution and abundance remains unclear.

Chromosome No.

2n = 54

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.

Taxanomic notes

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.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (14 April 2007). Description based on Jones et al. (1997) - as Pterostylis tanypodus

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.; Molloy, B. P. J.; Clements, M. A. 1997: Six new species of Pterostylis R.Br. (Orchidaceae) from New Zealand. The Orchadian 12(6): 266-281.

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.

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 10 Apr 2015