fleshy tree orchid
Sarcochilus adversus Hook.f.; Sarcochilus breviscapa Col.
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 = 76
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). 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.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North, South, Chatham Islands. Uncommon in the southern two thirds of the South Island where it is virtually replaced by D. flavus St George et Molloy.
Coastal to montane. Epiphytic, rupestral or terrestrial. Mostly on the trunks and branches of shrubs and taller forest trees but also on rocks, cliff faces, banks and fallen, moss covered logs.
Conspicuous tufted epiphyte of trunks and branches relatively clean of other epiphytic plants. Occasionally found on rock outcrops and cliff faces. Forming branched, leafy, tufts (40-)120(-150) mm diameter, with many white to brown, cord-like roots firmly attached to substrate. Lower parts covered in old leaf and inflorescence bases. Leaves (40-)60(-90) x 15-20(-30) mm, dark green, occasionally purple spotted, fleshy, elliptic, oblong, elliptic-oblong, with obtuse to emarginate, flat or twisted apices. Inflorescences racemose arising from or below the leaves, usually several per season; up to 80 mm long, bearing (1-)6(-20) flowers. Flowers at green or greenish-white, flecked with red, maroon or purple. Sepals and petals subequal, spreading widely but projecting forwards and inwards to form a cup. Dorsal sepal 3.5-4.5 x 1.5-2.0 mm, lateral sepals shorter, petals 2.5-3.5 x 1.5-1.8 mm. Labellum 2.5 x 2.0 mm, projected forwards, immobile, cupular, deeply channelled, mid-lobe evident only as a cucullate apex; lateral lobes forming sides of clog-shaped structure and each furnished with an internally projecting, partly transverse ridge, distal portion distinctly thickened, fleshy, bearing two prominent upright, flattened calli. Capsule 20 x 6 mm, broadly cylindrical to fusiform, green, usually without spots.
Allied to D. flavus from which it differs by its larger size, thicker (rather than thinner), distinctly fleshy (rather than coriaceous), elliptic to oblong (rather than elliptic to lanceolate), glossy (rather than dull), obtuse to emarginate (rather than acute), mostly dark green, rarely spotted (rather than pale green and spotted) leaves, green to greenish-white flowers flecked with red, maroon or purple (rather than greenish-yellow flowers lacking spots), cupular (rather than broadly trough-shaped) labellum with the distal portion bearing two prominent, upright, flattened calli (rather than none), uniformly green, rarely spotted (rather than spotted) capsules, and tetraploid (rather than diploid) chromosome number
September - January
November - May
Minute seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Plants can be grown by strapping them to a log, or wood slab and placing them suspended in a sheltered, warm position. Water frequently until well established. Should not be removed from the wild.
adversus: From the Latin adversus ‘turned towards’, ‘before’ or ‘opposite’
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (1 April 2007). 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 11: 285-309
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Drymoanthus adversus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/drymoanthus-adversus/ (Date website was queried)