Common name: Red Fire Orchid
Pyrorchis nigricans (R.Br.) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*
Synonyms: Lyperanthus nigricans R.Br. APNI*
Description: Rather robust terrestrial herb, 10–30 cm high, the whole plant drying jet black.
Leaf ground-hugging, broad-ovate to cordate, variable in size, to 12 cm long and 8 cm wide, fleshy, bright green often with black markings.
Inflorescence to 20 cm high, fleshy, with 2 or 3 loose sheathing bracts to 4 cm long, 2–8-flowered. Flowers c. 4 cm diam., red and white. Perianth segments to 3.5 cm long, slender, flat or with incurved margins white with red stripes, the tips dark reddish brown. Dorsal sepal incurved, c. 20 mm long, column-embracing, lanceolate; lateral sepals deflexed, divergent, linear, very dark, as long as dorsal sepal. Petals similar, usually recurved. Labellum curved gently near the base then recurved near the apex, white with crimson lines; lateral lobes erect and column-embracing, anterior margins deeply fringed. Lamina with a narrow, raised central plate and a few sessile calli. Column c. 12 mm long, soon incurving, narrowly winged. Anther blunt. Pollinia 2. Stigma prominent.
Flowering: August–November, often after hot bushfires the previous summer.
Distribution and occurrence: Grows in sclerophyll forest, woodland and coastal scrub and heath; coastal districts, south from Bungwahl.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC
Other Australian states: Vic. Tas. W.A. S.A.
Text by P. H. Weston and contributors as listed under genus headings
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.