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Genus Prasophyllum Family Orchidaceae

Synonyms: Chiloterus D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*
Mecopodum D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*

Description: Terrestrial herbs, sympodial; roots subterranean, filamentous; tuberoids paired; pseudobulbs absent.

Leaves basal, 1 per shoot, iusually well-developed and green, rarely reduced or purplish, cylindrical, hollow, not petiolate; apex usually withering at flowering.

Inflorescence racemose or spicate, many-flowered, terminal, emerging through a membranous point on the upper part of the leaf. Flowers not resupinate. Dorsal sepal free, slightly shorter to slightly longer than, and broader than lateral sepals. Lateral sepals free or connate. Lateral petals free, slightly shorter and usually narrower than dorsal sepal. Labellum free, rigidly attached to the base of the column or to a short, immobile claw; lamina not lobed or obscurely 3-lobed, with entire to crenulate, often strongly undulate margins; callus with a basal shallow cup or sack and central fleshy callus pad or plate which is usually channelled, sometimes strongly ridged and/or ornamented with tufts or warts. Column lacking free filament and style, stubby; column wings fused basally to column but apically forming prominent, free, lateral, entire to 2-lobed arms. Column foot absent. Anther erect, parallel to the axis of the column, persistent. Pollinia4, in 2 caudicle-bearing pairs, granular. Stigma entire. Rostellum apical, extended, triangular to linear, tipped with a wedge shaped viscidium bearing a stipe.

Seeds dust-like, not winged.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, Australia, New Zealand. Australia: c. 58 species (c. 57 species endemic), all States except N.T.

We have chosen not to recognise Chiloterus or Mecopodum, segregated from Prasophyllum by Jones and Clements (2004, Orchadian 14 Scientific Supplement i-xvi) until phylogenetic evidence is published showing that these changes are necessary. (P.H. Weston March 2007)

Text by P. Bernhardt & R. R. Rowe
Taxon concept: P. Bernhardt & R. R. Rowe (1993, Flora of New South Wales vol. 4)

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Prasophyllum alpestre,    Prasophyllum bagoense,    Prasophyllum beatrix,    Prasophyllum canaliculatum,    Prasophyllum caricetum,    Prasophyllum caudiculum,    Prasophyllum fitzgeraldii,    Prasophyllum frenchii,    Prasophyllum helophilum,    Prasophyllum innubum,    Prasophyllum keltonii,    Prasophyllum pyriforme,    Prasophyllum solstitium,    Prasophyllum sp. Long Plain (G.P. Phillips 1403),    Prasophyllum sp. Moama (D.L.Jones 19276),    Prasophyllum sphacelatum,    Prasophyllum tadgellianum,    Prasophyllum venustum,    Prasophyllum viriosum,    Prasophyllum wilkinsoniorum

 Key to the species 
1Rostellum and column wings much elongated and linear (at least twice as long as the anther); largely autumn-floweringPrasophyllum striatum
Rostellum and column wings short and broad with rostellum triangular and staminodes weakly triangular to sickle-shaped (not much longer than the anther); flowers spring–summer2
2Ovary elongate, cylindrical, appressed to rachis3
Ovary ovoid to pyriform, not appressed to rachis
                       Back to 1
3Leaf lamina greatly reduced, less than 2 cm long; lateral sepals cucullatePrasophyllum flavum
Leaf lamina at leasat 3 cm long; lateral sepals erect
                       Back to 2
4Leaf base with vertical red striations; labellum base gibbous, lamina strongly reflexedPrasophyllum australe
Leaf base without striations; labellum base not gibbous, lamina recurved at less then 90°
                       Back to 3
Prasophyllum elatum
5Labellum lamina papillose or minutely pubescent6
Labellum lamina glabrous
                       Back to 2
6Flowers crowded; labellum without a sigmoid bend; petals reflexed; alpine speciesPrasophyllum retroflexum
Flowers not crowded; labellum with a sigmoid bend; petals not reflexed; coastal species
                       Back to 5
Prasophyllum lindleyanum
7Labellum callus hardly raised, lamina voluminous, usually white, pellucid, crisped8
Labellum callus distinctly raised, lamina not voluminous, variously coloured but not pure white, not pellucid
                       Back to 5
8Lateral sepals cojoined for at least part of their length9
Lateral sepals free and divergent
                       Back to 7
9Lateral sepals free at base, joined near their knobbed apicesPrasophyllum dossenum
Lateral sepals joined from the base, apices not knobbed
                       Back to 8
10Alpine plants with a blunt leaf apex; labellum not reflexed back upon itselfPrasophyllum suttonii
Non-alpine plants, leaf apex acute; labellum reflexed back on itself
                       Back to 9
11Flowers more than 7 mm across; labellum more than 8 mm long; labellum callus without tufted papillae; plants not very slender, to 50 cm high, many-flowered (usually 10–35); widespread speciesPrasophyllum brevilabre
Flowers less than 7 mm across; labellum less than 8 mm long; labellum callus tufted with papillae; plants slender, filiform, usually less than 20 cm high, less than 10-flowered; confined to far north coast
                       Back to 10
Prasophyllum exilis
12Labellum reflexed back on itself; common widespread speciesPrasophyllum odoratum
Labellum recurved, but not reflexed back on itself; species with restricted distribution, in alpine sites and coastal districts
                       Back to 8
13Labellum broad, recurved gradually in a semi-circle; flowers sweetly fragrant; robust alpine plantsPrasophyllum candidum
Labellum narrow, recurved at a sharp angle; flowers lemon-scented; slender lowland plants
                       Back to 12
Prasophyllum patens
14Lateral sepals at least partly cojoined in most flowers15
Lateral sepals free in mature flowers
                       Back to 7
15Flowers less than 1 cm across; lateral sepals strongly recurved; labellum lamina c. 1 mm wide with straight margins; alpine plantsPrasophyllum alpinum
Flowers more than 1 cm across; lateral sepals hardly recurved; labellum lamina more than 1 mm wide with undulate margins; lowland plants
                       Back to 14
16Flowers thick-textured; petals incurved; labellum lamina often constricted, callus plate arising before the labellum bend and greatly raised; plants of coastal heathPrasophyllum affine
Flowers thin-textured; petals straight; labellum triangular, not constricted, callus not greatly raised, not present before the labellum bend; forest plants
                       Back to 15
Prasophyllum sylvestre
17Labellum base circular, apical portion small, tail- or appendix-like, margins neither undulate nor crenulate18
Labellum base not circular, apical portion not tail- or appendix-like, but tapering gradually into the base, margins crenulate or undulate
                       Back to 14
18Column appendages longer than rostellum, pink; labellum calluse well-developed before the bend; swamp plantsPrasophyllum fuscum
Column appendages shorter than the rostellum, dull-coloured; labellum callus developing at the bend; heath or forest plants
                       Back to 17
Prasophyllum appendiculatum
19Labellum with a short conical swelling at the base; callus plate very broad at base; column appendages longer than rostellum20
Labellum without a short conical basal swelling, callus plate narrow and tapering throughout; column appendages shorter than rostellum
                       Back to 17
20Labellum callus very short, obtuse; flower segments less than 9 mm longPrasophyllum rogersii
Labellum callus with an extended sub-acute midlobe; floral segments more than 9 mm long
                       Back to 19
Prasophyllum sp. A sensu Harden (1993)
21Floral bract acute; labellum callus swollen, column appendages as broad as long22
Floral bracts obtuse, labellum callus, minutely wrinkled or irregular; column appendages longer than broad
                       Back to 19
22Flowers large, 3-coloured, strongly fragrant; sepals more than 8 mm long; widespread species of inland plainsPrasophyllum campestre
Flowers small, dull-coloured, weakly fragrant; sepals less than 8 mm long; restricted to a small area near Canberra
                       Back to 21
Prasophyllum petilum
23Flowers drying dark, petals with longitudinal darker stripe outside; labellum margins undulate, not crenulate; plants from damp sitesPrasophyllum pallens
Flowers drying pale; petals uniformly coloured; labellum margins crenulate; plants of dry subalpine redges
                       Back to 21
Prasophyllum montanum

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