Corybas walliae


Corybas: helmet flower
walliae: Commemorating Walli (Walburga) Zeller, the mother of Andreas J. Zeller who assisted in this species formal taxonomic recognition

Common Name(s)

Zellers spider orchid

Current Conservation Status

2016 - 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


Corybas walliae Lehnebach



Brief Description

Terrestrial, seasonal orchid. Leaves solitary heart-shaped sub-oblong or sub-hastate, distinctly mucronate. Flowers solitary, mostly pale green or yellowish.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



None - first described in 2016


Endemic. New Zealand. North and South Islands


Montane to subalpine. Found in leaf litter under southern beech (Fuscospora or Lophozonia (Nothofagaceae)) or kamahi (Weinmania racemosa) forest, or growing in mossy seepages and gravelly soils.


Terrestrial herbs, 13–34 mm tall at flowering. Leaf distinctly petiolate, petiole 5.5–28.8 mm long; lamina cordiform to sub-oblong or sub-hastate, 6.4–14.0 × 9.3–23.5 mm; margin entire; apex mucronate with mucro 0.2–2.6 mm long. Flower solitary, held erect on a peduncle 2.7–11.6 mm long, floral bract narrowly triangular to deltate when flattened, 2.6–10.0 × 1.4–3.7 mm, dorsal sepal pale yellowgreen, arching over the labellum, concave to cucullate, narrow at the base and widely spathulate towards the tip and at times bearing trichomes on the upper surface, apex emarginated or rounded; lateral sepal linear-filiform, pale yellow-green, at times pale pink, 9.4–25.0 mm long; petals are similar to the dorsal sepals but longer, 24.5–62.2 mm long; labellum pale green or yellowish, less often with a few blotches of pink near the upper section, auriculate at base, aperture 1.2–2.6 mm in diameter; lamina deflexed, ca.7 mm wide, with a central groove formed by the inwards folding of the lamina, extending downwards to the lower margin and sunken pit formed at the point where the lamina bends, margin incurve, mostly entire but erose at the lower margin, inner surface of the labellum covered with glandular trichomes, some also present in the outer surface. Ovary 3.0–9.0 mm long. Column 2.3 mm long, straight with deltate to shallowly deltate wings flanking the stigma.

Similar Taxa

The pale flowers flowers of Corybas walliae most closely resemble those of C. vitreus but they differs from that species in having a conspicuously yellow to pale green labellum lamina and margins and by the presence of numerous glandular trichomes on the internal and external surface of the labellum. Corybas walliae also has larger leaves. Corybas walliae is best distinguished from C. trilobus by having an overall pale green to yellow flower.


October - November


November - January

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Lehnebach et al. (2016) assess this species using the New Zealand Threat Classification System as "Not Threatened". This decision has yet to be ratified by the Threat Listing panel.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Species Orthography

Lehnebach et al. (2016) described this species as Corybas wallii - a species epithet that honours a male person. However, in their protologue the etymology of the species epithet is given thus 'this species is named after Walli (Walburga) Zeller, mother of the second author of this article'. As the person honoured is female the orthographic end should be walliae not wallii - as in Carex edgariae, Libertia edgariae - species honouring Dr Elizabeth Edgar.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (15 August 2016). Description from Lehnebach et al. (2016)

References and further reading

Lehnebach, C.A., Zeller, A.J.; Frericks, J.; Ritchie, P. 2016: Five new species of Corybas (Diurideae, Orchidaceae) endemic to New Zealand and phylogeny of the Nematoceras clade. Phytotaxa 270:1-24.

This page last updated on 25 Aug 2016