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ONION ORCHID (Microtis unifolia)
Biodiversity > Plants > Orchids

Microtis unifolia

Microtis unifolia    Onion orchid         Family ORCHIDACEAE


A slender terrestrial herb, 10 to 40cm high with many small green flowers packed in a spike along the top of the flower stem; a single, long, cylindrical leaf, giving it the name onion orchid on the mainland. Exists as an underground, globose tuber for part of the year. Uncommon on Lord Howe, but locally abundant, in small colonies, on moist cliff ledges or mossy soaks of the Northern Hills. Widely distributed on the Australian mainland, as well as New Zealand, New Caledonia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and China. The genus has 9 species, mainly Australian, but a few species in New Zealand, New Caledonia and Indochina.

A single, green, cylindrical leaf, longer than the flower stem which it sheaths for half its length. Flower (Oct-Jan) numerous small green flowers spiralled around along an elongate terminal spike, on a long stem. The flowers are about 12mm long, ovary relatively large. Fruit a ribbed capsule, ellipsoid, 5mm long. 





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