Spiranthes australis (R.Br.) Lindl.

in Edwards's, Bot. Reg. 10: sub. t.823 (1824) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Plant usually of swampy ground, arising from several elongated, conical or cylindric tubers. Leaves usually 3–5, linear-lanceolate to spathulate, 8–18 cm long. Flowering stem erect, to 45 cm tall, with 3–5 bracts, pubescent in upper parts. Flowers 10–60, rather dense in spiralled spike, deep to light pink with a white labellum or less commonly all white, sweetly fragrant, subtending bracts ovate, glandular-pubescent on the outside, about as long as ovary; ovary glandular-pubescent, shortly ovoid; sepals and petals 4–5 mm long, petals wider at tips than base, sepals pubescent on outside. Labellum obscurely 3-lobed, white, c. 6 mm long, lateral lobes wider than mid-lobe, base tubular, lamina more or less rectangular, truncate, granular, lower half bulging, margins fringed or toothed, crisped, with a large ovoid gland on each side of lamina base. Column fleshy, c. 3 mm long. Flowers Dec.–Apr.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, OtR, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro. Widespread across much of Victoria, except the drier north-west, but seldom common. Grows in damp depressions, swamps or on seasonally inundated stream-banks.

Larger-flowered plants with less tubular labellums are sometimes recognised as S. alticola, which, as the name implies occurs at higher altitudes. However the characters do not seem to be reliable and S. alticola is generally (as here) regarded as synonymous with S. australis.

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 (as Spiranthes sinensis (Pers.) Ames).
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2018-02-08
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Spiranthes
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Spiranthes australis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Spiranthes australis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland 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
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory