Glossodia major R.Br.

Wax-lip Orchid

Prodr. 326 (1810) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering plant 10–35 cm tall. Leaf oblong to oblong-lanceolate, hairy, 3–10 cm long. Flowers 1–2, purple to mauve (rarely white), fragrant; petals and sepals elliptic-lanceolate, 15–25 mm long, 4–9 mm wide; bases white with purple spots, outer surface light-coloured and hairy. Labellum erect but soon recurved forward, elongate-cordate, 6–10 mm long, 5–6 mm wide, white and pubescent at base, dilated on either side of longitudinal central furrow, purple and glabrous at apex; extreme base with large purple appendage topped by a broad, fleshy, yellow, deeply notched, 2-lobed head. Column broadly winged, especially in upper part; anther with acute point. Flowers Aug.–Nov.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Also SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas. Widespread in drier open-forests, woodland and coastal heath throughout most of Victoria.

Glossodia major forms very rare natural hybrids with Cyanicula caerulea (e.g. Maryborough area), G. minor (e.g. Mallacoota) and Pheladenia deformis, the latter referred to ×Calassodia tutelata.

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: Val Stajsic, 2018-02-16
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Glossodia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Glossodia major in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Glossodia major in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain 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
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

State distribution

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