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Genoplesium littorale D.L.Jones
Family Orchidaceae
Genoplesium littorale D.L.Jones APNI*

Synonyms: Corunastylis littoralis (D.L.Jones) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*

Description: Terrestrial tuberous herb.

Leaf terete, 10–25 cm long, c. 0.15 cm wide, dark green, base reddish, lamina closely sheathing the scape, subulate, 10–18 mm long and 1.5–2.0 mm wide, ending 5–20 mm below the first flower.

Inflorescence 15–30 cm tall, bearing 5–30 flowers in a moderately dense spike 10–30 mm long. Floral bracts closely sheathing, transversely ovate-elliptic, c. 1 mm long by 1.5 mm wide, apiculate. Ovary linear-obovoid c. 2 mm long, asymmetrically arcuate. Flowers nodding, pendant, c. 4 mm wide, green with a purple-brown labellum. Dorsal sepal broad-lanceolate, c. 3.5–3.8 mm long by 2.5 mm wide, concave, margins brown, entire, apex acuminate. Lateral sepals linear-lanceolate, c. 4.0–4.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, gibbous at the base, divergent, margins around the apex inrolled, apex cucullate, and acute, without a gland. Petals widely spreading linear lanceolate, 2.5–3.0 mm long by 0.8 mm wide, margins brown-tinted, entire, apex acute with a long apiculus. Labellum hinged on a short column foot, porrect, immobile, lamina ovate-lanceolate, c. 2.5 mm long by 0.8 mm wide, fleshy, sharply transversely deflexed to circinate in the apical third, margins irregular, apex acute; callus ligulate, extending to within c. 0.7 mm of the labellum apex, dark purple, thickest and broadest just above the base then tapered to an obtuse apex. Column c. 2.3 mm long by 1.3 mm wide, off-white. Column foot ligulate, c. 0.8 mm long, upturned. Column wings divided by a V shaped sinus into unequal lobes, upper lobe short, oblong, off-white, margins entire, apex obtuse to narrowly rounded; lower lobe longer, narrowly triangular, falcate, dark purple, margins irregular, apex acuminate. Anther c. 1 mm long with a filiform rostrum c. 0.7 mm long. Pollinarium 0.8 mm long; pollinia c. 0.6 mm long. Stigma ovate-elliptic c. 1.0 mm long by 0.6 mm wide.

Flowering: Recorded flowering from March to May.

Distribution and occurrence:

Grows on stabilised dunes in littoral communities dominated by Leptospermum laevigatum and Banksia integrifolia.
NSW subdivisions: NC

Threatened species: NSW BCA: Critically Endangered; Commonwealth EPBC: Critically Endangered
AVH map***

Genoplesium littorale can be recognised by the combination of 1) the slender growth habit; 2) the few-flowered inflorescence whose flowers are well-spaced and, 3) present a striking contrast of brown and green; 4) the absence of cilia or trichomes on the margins of all floral segments, including petals and labellum; 5) the absence of apical glands on sepals and petals; 6) the lanceolate-ovate labellum whose apex is circinate; 7) thedivision of the column wing into two unequal lobes, the lower of which is narrowly triangular and falcate, rather scythe-like in appearance, and which has ciliolate margins.

Text by Description based on D.L.Jones (2001), with modification by M.A.M.Renner (10 May 2020).
Taxon concept: Jones DL (2001) Six new species and a new combination in Genoplesium R.Br. (Orchidaceae) from eastern Australia. The Orchadian 13(7): 293-307.

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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