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Genus Caleana Family Orchidaceae
Common Name: Duck orchids

Description: Terrestrial herbs, sympodial; roots filamentous; tubers produced at apex of stolons.

Leaves ± suffused with purple, basal, 1 per shoot, convolute, sessile.

Inflorescence racemose, 1–5-flowered, terminal; flowers not resupinate. Dorsal sepal free, about as long as lateral sepals. Lateral sepals free. Lateral petals free, about as long as dorsal sepal. Labellum free, attached by an elastic, irritable claw, which is upcurved when set, recurved when sprung; lamina peltately connected to the claw, shaped like a duck's head, smooth, ornamented "at the back of the head" with a single, flat, downward-curving, strap-like appendage; when touched the labellum abruptly folds into the cup-like column. Column lacking free filament and style; column wings broad and continuous along the whole length of the column, forming a concave, cup-like basket. Column foot absent. Anther erect, persistent. Pollinia 4, soft and mealy. Stigma entire. Rostellum obscure, ventral.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 species, Australia (endemic), all States except N.T. & W.A.

Paracaleana was segregated from Caleana by D.F. Blaxell (1972, Contributions from the NSW National Herbarium 4: 275–283) but in Flora of NSW vol. 4, we followed M.A. Clements (1989, Australian Orchid Research 1) in not recongising this split on the grounds that it was an unnecessary nomenclatural change. However, since 1993, the generic name Paracaleana has come into common useage, so we are now recognising it as distinct from its sister group, the monotypic Caleana. (P.H. Weston, March 2007)

Text by P.H. Weston
Taxon concept: S.D. Hopper & A.P. Brown (2006, Australian Systematic Botany 19: 211–244)

One species in NSW: Caleana major

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