, or the Eastern Underground Orchid
, is an terrestrial saprophytic orchid
with fleshy underground stem
to 15 cm long and 15 mm diameter.
A synonym is Cryptanthemis slateri
Rupp (1932).Rhizanthella slateri
ranges from southeastern Queensland
to the south coast of New South Wales
. In NSW, it is currently only known from fewer than 10 locations, including near Bulahdelah
, the Watagan Mountains
, the Blue Mountains
, Wisemans Ferry
area, Agnes Banks and near Nowra
. At each location, only a few individuals are known. However, Rhizanthella slateri
is difficult to detect; it is usually located when the soil is disturbed, and there may well be more locations of the species within its known range. The species grows in eucalypt
forest but no informative assessment of the likely preferred habitat for the species is available.
It is whitish, often branching, with prominent, fleshy, overlapping bracts
. It is an achlorophyllous orchid growing entirely underground. Only the flowers eventually break the surface beneath the leaf litter, to allow pollination by flies or insects.
The small, purplish, tubular, flowers
number up to 30. The flowering heads are about 2 cm wide. They mature below the soil surface or extend 2 cm above the ground. The receptacle of up to 18 whitish triangular bracts is about 8 mm long. The orchid flowers in October and November.
The dorsal sepal
curved, with the tip narrowing linear to filiform and a broad... Read More