Microtis unifolia (G.Forst.) Rchb.f.

Common Onion-orchid

Beitr. Syst. Pflanzenk. 62 (1871) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering stem 10–70 cm tall, slender to robust, fleshy. Leaf erect or drooping, 10–80 cm long, hollow; sheath opening well below inflorescence. Flowers 10–100, green or yellow-green, often lightly scented, spreading, in moderately to quite dense spike-like raceme 3–13 cm long; ovary obovoid to almost ellipsoid, 3–4 mm long, plump, on relatively stout, short pedicel, standing out from stem; dorsal sepal ovate to circular, 2–4 mm long, hooded, margin evenly rounded, apex obtuse; lateral sepals linear-oblong to ovate-lanceolate, shorter than dorsal sepal, almost acute, spreading, recurved to tightly revolute; petals lanceolate and sickle-shaped or somewhat ovate-lanceolate, shorter than dorsal sepal, partly concealed by dorsal sepal. Labellum pressed against ovary, more or less oblong, 2–2.5 mm long; margins minutely notched or wrinkled; apex notched; lamina with saddle-shaped basal calli, flattened rather than convex, and variously shaped apical to medial callus. Column with distinct ovate auricles. Flowers Oct.–Jan.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. All States except NT. Occurs in a wide range of habitats, from swamps to rocky outcrops, open grasslands, and occasionally seen in urban situations. Widespread and abundant in Victoria.

There is much variation in flower morphology within this taxon and a number of distinct variants probably warrant taxonomic recognition. One variant of Microtis unifolia is known from peat bogs, and has tiny flowers, a small ovary, a short blunt dorsal sepal and a curled-under, square labellum which is not bifid.

Some M. unifolia can apparently hybridize with both M. rara and M. parviflora in the field. See also notes under M. rara.

Source: Entwisle, T.J.; Bates, R.J. (1994). Microtis. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-10-23
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Microtis
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Microtis unifolia in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Microtis unifolia in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory