bird orchid, ant orchid
Simpliglottis cornuta (Hook.f.) Szlach.
Vascular – Native
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.
2n = 40
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
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.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACU: Facultative Upland
Occasionally is a hydrophyte but usually occurs in uplands (non-wetlands).
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.
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
October - July
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.
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 for NZPCN 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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Chiloglottis cornuta Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/chiloglottis-cornuta/ (Date website was queried)