Prasophyllum suttonii R.S.Rogers & B.Rees

Mauve Leek-orchid

Proc. Roy. Soc. Victoria, new ser., 25: 112, t. 6 figs A-C , s. lat (1912) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering stem robust, 15–45 cm tall. Leaf-blade fleshy, rigid, shorter than flower spike, to 1 cm diam. at base, hardly attenuated; orifice of sheath inflated. Flowers 3–25, colourful (white, purplish and green), fragrant, in a short, moderately crowded spike 3–8 cm long; ovary short, pyriform, often with purple ribs; sepals greenish and purple, 6–10 mm long, dorsal sepal ovate-lanceolate, acute, lateral sepals free or united, lanceolate, often shorter than dorsal sepal, erect, divergent (when free), fleshy; petals longer than sepals, to 12 mm long and 3 mm broad, oblong, white with purple median stripe basally, margins undulate-crisped. Labellum white, recurved at about 60°, prominently crenulate and crisped; callus tongue-shaped, channelled, extending just beyond labellum bend, thickest near the bifid apex, pale. Column appendages ovate-falcate, to 3 mm long, obtuse, pink. Flowers Dec.–Mar.

EGU, HNF, MonT, SnM, VAlp. Locally common in alpine and subalpine meadows or exposed slopes. Particularly frequent following fires.

Following the description of Prasophyllum alpestre in 1998, the name P. suttonii was restricted to an early-flowered plant of Mt Buffalo, and was known only from its Type collection of 1902. Kuiter (2017) presented persuasive evidence that the two are conspecific, and that evidence is accepted here. The attributed distinctions between the two species (connate rather than free lateral sepals that are gibbous at the base and ovaries longer and less turgid in P. alpestre) were shown to be variable in populations (and sometimes within a single inflorescence) on Mt Buffalo, and the earlier flowering period often cited as a characteristic of P. suttonii (December) is not significant when the range of flowering times of 'P. alpestre' (December to March) is considered.

Source: Bates, R.J. (1994). Prasophyllum. 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: Neville Walsh, 2018-03-16

Kuiter, R.H. (2017). Taxonomic status of the Mauve Leek-orchid Prasophyllum suttonii Rogers & Rees, 1912 (Orchidaceae), Self published.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Prasophyllum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Prasophyllum suttonii in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Prasophyllum suttonii in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory