Description: Terrestrial herbs, sympodial; roots subterranean, filamentous; tuberoids paired.
Leaves absent or basal and 1 per shoot, convolute.
Inflorescence racemose, 1–many-flowered, terminal; flowers resupinate. Dorsal sepal free, broad and concave, often forming a loose, horizontal 'cap' over the column. Lateral sepals free, similar to, but usually narrower than dorsal sepal. Lateral petals free, shorter and narrower than sepals. Labellum free, attached at base of column; lamina not lobed, narrowing to an acute or elongated, crisped tip, in most species decorated with a dense 'beard' of fine, metallically lustrous, elongated calli often grading towards shorter, central calli, or rarely smooth, basally bearing continuous polished plates or knobby warts. Column lacking free filament and style, stubby; column wings fused to (and surrounding) column, forming a mitra; dorsal part of mitra greatly reduced, poorly pigmented, papillose and clasping the anther; the expanded, basal section in front of the stigma usually forms two rounded collars flanking the stigma, each usually ornamentedwith a dark, shiny gland ('sham eye'). Column foot absent. Anther erect, parallel to the axis of the column, persistent. Pollinia 2, soft and mealy. Stigma entire. Rostellum ventral.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 12 species, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, New Guinea. Australia: 11 species (8 species endemic), all States.
Text by P. Bernhardt
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Labellum naked; labellum apex short, acute||Calochilus robertsonii|
|Labellum ornamented; labellum apex elongated and usually crisped||2|
|2||Long labellum calli grade abruptly into long, raised, smooth plates with a metallic blue to brownish purple lustre||Calochilus campestris|
|Long labellum calli grade gradually into progressively shorter calli and knobby warts|
Back to 1
|3||Both column collars lack glands||Calochilus paludosus|
|Each column collar with 1 gland|
Back to 2
|4||Flower large, labellum to 45 mm long; leaf to 50 cm long||Calochilus grandiflorus|
|Flower smaller, labellum to 35 mm long; leaf 30–40 cm long|
Back to 3
|5||Labellum slender with tail-like tip forming up to half the length of lamina; column collars interconnected by obscure rim||Calochilus gracillimus|
|Labellum broad with tail-like tip forming up to a third the length of entire lamina; column collars interconnected by prominent purplish ridge|
Back to 4