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Genoplesium cuspidatum (D.L.Jones & L.M.Copel.)
Family Orchidaceae
Genoplesium cuspidatum (D.L.Jones & L.M.Copel.) APNI*

Description: Terrestrial tuberous herb.

Leaf terete, 15–25 cm long, 1.0–1.5 mm wide, base reddish; free lamina linear-lanceolate 15–25 mm long, 2.0–2.5 mm wide, ending 5–25 mm below the first flower.

Inflorescence 20–30 cm tall, bearing 6–28 flowers in a closely set, but not congested or crowded, spike 18–35 mm tall. Floral bracts oblong-obovate, emarginate. Ovary elliptical, around 2.5 mm long. Flowers deflexed, c. 5.5 mm wide, reddish to dark purple on lateral sepals and labellum, petals and dorsal sepal paler but with prominent darker stripes. Dorsal sepal ovate lanceolate with an acuminate apex, 5.0–5.5 mm long by 2.6–3.0 mm wide, concave, margins entire, pale purple or purple-green with 5 darker purple medial and marginal stripes. Lateral sepals narrowly triangular-falcate, 6.0–6.5 mm long by 1.5 mm wide, ascendant in outer two thirds when fully opened, margins inrolled in the outer half to two thirds, apex acute or sometimes cuspidate; red- to dark purple, sometimes green toward the apex, and paler at the base on the inner surface. Petals lanceolate, 4.0–4.5 mm long by 1.5 mm wide, margins entire, apex acuminate; pale with dark purple margins and mid-line. Labellum hinged by a short claw, not mobile, elliptic-obovate, semi-deflexed and evenly curved along its most of its length but with sharp curvature at the apex, 3.5–4.0 mm long by 2.0–2.5 mm wide, margins with spreading purple cilia 0.3–1.0 mm long, apex apiculate, dark red-purple; callus broad, tapering toward obtuse apex from a wide base, extending nearly to the labellum apex, papillose, dark purple-black. Column 2.7 mm tall by 1.5 mm wide, pale or with purple wash; wings deeply notched, lobes unequal; lower lobe attenuate, curved, purplish, with margins bearing dense short and irregular cilia; upper lobe oblong, pale, entire, with an obtuse apex.

Photo Lachlan Copeland

Photo Lachlan Copeland

Flowering: Flowering recorded from December through to March.

Distribution and occurrence: Within and adjacent to woodland and open forest associated with granite or metasediment outcrops between 750 and 1300 m elevation on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Also occurs in Queensland.

Among grass and shrubs, alongside tracks and roads, and in 'moss gardens' on outcrops and pavements.
NSW subdivisions: NT
AVH map***

Genoplesium cuspidatum is a member of the G. archeri complex, and can be recognised by the combination of 1) ciliate labellum margins, 2) entire petal and dorsal sepal margins; 3) the cuspidate apex of the lateral sepals; 4) overall dark purple flowers relatively closely spaced in a dense inflorescence. In particular the cuspidate lateral sepal apex, when present, is distinctive. Plants from the type locality are shown in the images on this page. Plants from other localities may not express the intensity of pigmentation, the closely set flowers, and the cuspidate leaf apices as conspicuously as the individuals at the type locality, and investigation of their relationships with the remainder of the G. archeri complex would be worthwhile.

Text by David L. Jones and Lachlan M. Copeland, with modification by Matt A.M. Renner (2 February 2021)
Taxon concept: Jones DL, Copeland LM (2017) Corunastylis cuspidata (Orchidaceae), a new species from north-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Australian Orchid Review 82: 54-56.

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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