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Microtis parviflora R.Br.
Family Orchidaceae
Common name: Slender Onion Orchid

Microtis parviflora R.Br. APNI*

Synonyms: Microtis bipulvinaris Nicholls APNI*

Description: Slender to robust terrestrial herb, usually 15–50 cm high.

Leaf 10–40 cm long.

Inflorescence to 50 cm high, 20–50-flowered; pedicels 0.5–1.5 mm long; floral bract ovate, 3–4 mm long, c. 2 mm wide. Flowers rarely scented, green, suberect. Dorsal sepal circular to ovate, 1.5–2.2 mm long, 1.2–2 mm wide, markedly concave below, apex acute. Lateral sepals linear to oblong, deflexed or becoming recurved with age, 1.2–2 mm long, c. 0.8 mm wide. Petals falcate to lanceolate, 1–1.5 mm long, 0.3–0.5 mm wide. Labellum ± cordate, 1–1.8 mm long, 0.3–0.8 mm wide, basal calli ovate, smooth; often with a rugulose patch near the apex which becomes callus-like when dry; margins entire, sometimes undulate. Column with oblong white-tipped lateral appendages.


Flowering: spring–summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Grows in wet places in sclerophyll forest, bogs or damp grassland, often forming extensive colonies; mainly coastal, but inland to West Wyalong district.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, NT, CT, NWS, CWS, SWS
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas. S.A.
AVH map***

Microtis parviflora can be recognised by the entire, usually plane, labellum margins. Unlike other species such as M. unifolia there are no prominantly bulging and projecting cells along the labellum margin, and it is probably best to check this character with a 20x hand lens. The labellum shape is also fairly distinctive, in that the labellum tapers toward an obtuse to shallowly rounded apex, rather than being parallel sided or even flaring slightly toward the apex. So, the combination of plane, entire labellum margins on a labellum that tapers toward the apex are sufficient characters for confident identification of this species.

Text by R. R. Rowe, updated by Matt A.M. Renner (5 November 2020).
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)


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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