Corybas unguiculatus (R.Br.) Rchb.f.

Small Helmet-orchid

Beitr. Syst. Pflanzenk. 43 (1871) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Leaf ovate to cordate, tending to become 3-lobed, green above, generally pale red streaked with grey below, 12–36 mm long, 10–26 mm wide. Flower reddish-purple to purple-black, reflexed against ovary, pedicel (excluding ovary) 1–2 cm long; bract conspicuous, c. 5 mm long, just below ovary; dorsal sepal reddish-purple, spoon-shaped, c. 8–10 mm long, abruptly dilated, erect at base, then much incurved, lamina circular, concave; lateral sepals narrow-linear, c. 5 mm long, spreading below labellum; petals about half as long as lateral sepals, very narrow-linear, often joined at base, spreading on each side of the labellum. Labellum wholly purplish, extending c. 5 mm beyond dorsal sepal, tubular with incurved lateral margins and flared apex, inflated in middle, orifice directed downwards and forwards, margins entire or almost so; auricles short, tubular, opening at apex; calli brush-like, extending in a single row from orifice to base along middle of lamina. Column winged. Flowers May–Aug.

DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HSF, OtP, OtR, Strz, VVP, WaP, WPro. Also NSW, Tas. Scattered across southern Victoria, mostly in coastal scrubs, woodland and low, heathy vegetation on winter-wet sandy or peaty soils.

A variant from the Anglesea area (growing in wet heathland) with a brighter reddish flower, a smaller dorsal sepal, often spathulate petals and a ribbed (underneath) labellum requires further investigation.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Orchidaceae. 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, 2015-02-17
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Corybas
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Corybas unguiculatus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Corybas unguiculatus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory