Microtis arenaria Lindl

Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl. 306 (1840) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering stem 30–60 cm tall. Leaf more or less erect, to 30–80 cm long, hollow; sheath opening well below inflorescence. Flowers 10–60, pale green or yellow-green, fragrant, in a fairly dense spike-like raceme 3–15 cm long; ovary ovoid to sub-cylindric, 4–10 mm long, almost sessile, standing out from stem; dorsal sepal ovate, 3–4 mm long, shallowly hooded, margin evenly rounded, apex acute to acuminate, upturned; lateral sepals linear-oblong, shorter than dorsal sepal, recurved to revolute; petals lanceolate and sickle-shaped, shorter than dorsal sepal, partly concealed by dorsal sepal. Labellum pendulous (but not pressed against ovary), oblong, 3–4 mm long; margins scalloped, apex distinctly bilobed, the lobes rounded or angular with a distinct, decurved point between them; lamina with saddle-shaped basal calli and irregularly shaped apical callus (often with a decurved apex). Column with distinct ovate auricles. Flowers Sep.–Dec.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, Strz, VRiv, VVP, WaP, Wim. Also SA, NSW, Tas. Occurs in a wide variety of habitats from coastal sandhills, heathland, woodland to forest and rocky outcrops inland.

This is the largest of the Victorian Microtis species, and a very variable one. Hybrids with related species have been reported.

Plants with affinities to M. arenaria, but more similar to the South Australian M. frutetorum Schdl., grow in burnt open-forest. They have large flowers which are strongly perfumed, a large ovary, a long, flat, acute dorsal sepal and a long straight labellum pressed against the ovary and with a bifid tip.

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: Jeff Jeanes, 2015-02-19
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 arenaria in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Microtis arenaria in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina 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
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native

State distribution

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