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 ornamented with 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
| ||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|
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|3||Both column collars lack glands||Calochilus paludosus|
|Each column collar with 1 gland|
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|4||Lateral petals oblong or quadrate, or if rounded then semi-circular and as long as wide, not wider than long; with or without red stripes over a yellow-green or green base. Labellum hairs curved and straight, spreading and assurgent, rather untidy in appearance||5|
|Lateral petals almost reniform, bearing intense red stripes over a nearly white base. Labellum hairs straight, spreading, and rather tidy in appearance|
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|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|
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|6||Leaf 3–5cm long, inflorescence 30–60 cm tall, flowers 35–45 mm long||Calochilus grandiflorus|
|Leaf 10–18 cm long, inflorescence 20–30 cm tall, flowers 25–35 mm long|
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