mudstone spider orchid
Corysanthes papa (Molloy et Irwin) Szlach.; Nematoceras papa (Molloy et Irwin) Molloy, D.L.Jones et M.A.Clem.
Vascular – Native
2n = 36
Current conservation status
The conservation 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.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. 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. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North Island, where it seems to be wholly westerly in distribution from about Port Waikato south to the western Ruahine Range
Coastal to montane (up to 1100 m a.s.l.). Favouring base rich substrates, especially calcaerous mudstones, siltstones (both known as Papa rock), and limestone but also on basalt. Usually in, or near seepages or on the margins of slow-flowing streams
Terrestrial, tuberous, glabrous,summer-green herb forming extensive colonies. Tuberoids globose to ellipsoid on extended roots. Leaf solitary, firm and fleshy, sessile; usually spreading and held flat to the ground surface; lamina 18-40 x 15-35 mm, blunt wedge-shaped to ovate-oblong, sometimes pandurate, apiculate at apex, with apiculus decurved, rounded and cordate at base; midrib slightly grooved above, flat beneath; leaf colour dull green above with purple flecks on margins, on midrib, or overall, silvery beneath. Flowers 1(-2), 10-15 mm long, generally green throughout except for labellum tube, dominated by the labellum, filiform petals and lateral sepals, on a usually purple streaked peduncle 3.0-5.0 x 1.5-2.0 mm. Ovary 5-8 x 2-4 mm, green, sometimes streaked with purple, curved, subtended by two unequal floral bracts, the smaller vestigial to 3 mm long, subulate, the larger 6-10 x 3-5 mm, narrowly ovate-lanceolate, green, equaling the ovary. Dorsal sepal 15-20 x 5-8 mm, exceeding the labellum, lanceolate in outline when flattened, concave, cucullate and arching over the labellum tube, with apex upturned; green, slightly diffused with purple on the veins. Lateral sepals 50.0-70.0 x 0.5-1.0 mm at widest point; filiform, greatly exceeding labellum; green, sometimes flecked with purple; suberect to erect and spreading; channelled, and twisted. Petals 40.0-60.0 x 0.5-1.0 mm at widest point, usually shorter than lateral sepals, filiform, greatly exceeding labellum, projecting forwards and outwards; channelled, auriculate at base of the column. Auricles short, projecting downwards and forwards, with apertures 1.0-1.5 mm across. Labellum usually green except for labellum tube and upper margins of lamina which are often purple-flushed or streaked; labellum tube 8-10 mm long, erect at first then doubly deflexed through 90-180 degrees, expanding into the lamina; lamina 6-8 x 8-10 mm, broadly ovate; upper margins folded inwards and overlapping; lower surface spreading, deflexed against ovary; rounded or obtuse with slightly erose margins and a median apiculus; inner surface with scattered minute papillae, veins ridged; throat of labellum tube notched, barely over half-way on lamina. Column 2.5-3.0 mm long, broadest and ridged at base, inclined backwards, minutely winged. Stigma scutiform, 0.7 mm diameter, concave. Anther 1 mm, obtuse. Pollinia 4, united in pairs, 0.6 x 0.4 mm, oblong, mealy, yellow. Capsule 10-16 x 4-6 mm, elliptic, initially green later brown, on greatly elongated peduncle.
Manaaki Whenua Online Interactive Key
Allied to Corybas rivularis, C. papa is distinguished from that species and indeed all other Corybas by the combination of sessile, bluntly wedge-shaped, usually spotted leaves; relatively small. predominantly green flowers; broad concave dorsal sepal; subequal petals and lateral sepals; doubly deflexed labellum spreading against the ovary, compressed front to back; and with a flared, rounded or obtuse, apiculate lamina.
August - October
October - January
Difficult - should not be removed from the wild.
corybas: Helmet flower
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Considerable research is underway to investigate the validity of the segregate genera split from Corybas R.Br. by Jones et al. (2002). Whilst much of that work has yet to be published, on advice from Australian Orchidologists Peter Weston and Stephen Hopper (pers. comm., July 2011, November 2014), all of the segregate genera recognised for New Zealand by Jones et al. (2002) are returned to Corybas.
Recently Lehnebach (2016) has made three combinations for those Nematoceras lacking valid names in Corybas. This action now enables the full transfer of Nematoceras back to Corybas. However, as of writing, a formal publication rejecting the segregation of Corybas by Jones et al. (2002) has yet to be published. Lehnebach cites an unpublished PhD (Lyon 2014) that indicates this move is imminent.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2007. Description based on Molloy and Irwin (1996).
References and further reading
Jones, D.L.; Clements, M.A.; Sharma, I.K.; Mackenzie, A.M.; Molloy, B.P.J. 2002: Nomenclatural notes arising from studies into the Tribe Diurideae (Orchidaceae). The Orchadian 13: 437-468.
Molloy, B.P.J.; Irwin, J.B. 1996: Two new species of Corybas (Orchidaceae) from New Zealand, and taxonomic notes on C. rivularis and C. orbiculatus. New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 1-10.
Lehnebach, C. 2016: New combinations and a replacement name for three New Zealand spider orchids (Corybas). The New Zealand Native Orchid Journal 139. 4-5.
Lyon, S. P. 2014: Molecular systematics, biogeography, and mycorrhizal associations in the Acianthinae (Orchidaceae), with a focus on the genus Corybas. PhD Thesis, University of
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Corybas papa Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/corybas-papa/ (Date website was queried)