Cryptostylis ovata R.Br. 1810 Photo by Colin & Misha Rowan and Retired Aussies Orchid Photo Website

Flower and Pollinator

Plant and Flowers Photo courtesy of Ron Heberle and the Thelymitra Page of The Species Orchid Society of Western Australia

Deep ShadeColdSpring EARLIERSummer

Common Name The Egg-Shaped Cryptostylis - The Slipper Orchid - The Western Tongue Orchid

Flower Size 2" [5 cm]

Found in Western Australia in coastal scrub, heathlands, woodlands, high rainfall Karri and Marri forests in swampy situations at elevations of sealevel to 250 meters as a miniature to small sized, cold growing terrestrial orchid with broadly ovate to elliptic, dark green with a white midrib above, purplish red beneath, stout stalked leaves that blooms in the spring through summer on an erect, 10 to 28" [25 to 70 cm] long, 4 to 15 flowered inflorescence.

CRYPTOSTYLIS (concealed column) OVATA (oval leaf).

Cryptostylis is another of the hardy summer flowering orchids. The genus is present in Malaysia, New Guinea, Formosa, the Philippines, New Caledonia and numerous Polynesian Islands. Five species are present in Australia with just one in Western Australia (Cryptostylis ovata) which occurs at elevations up to 150 meters in coastal heath forests, scrublands, woodlands and moist forests as a small to medium sized, cool growing terrestrial with ovate, acute, stiff, green above, red brown below leaves that blooms in the summer on an erect, 13" [32.5 cm] long, few to several flowered inflorescence.

Its late flowering, the handsome oval leaf and its persistent habit of surviving from year to year easily recognize the species. The flower has rudimentary segments with the exception of the large resupinate labellum with its sexual parts concealed underneath.

This pseudo-copulating orchid demonstrates the one to one pollination or plant association where the same type of wasp, Australia wide, fertilizes the orchid.

The Second photo shows this wasp and another shows the common clumping habit of growth. Ron Heberle April 2003

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Orchids of Australia Riley & Banks 2002; Native Orchids of Australia Jones 2006 photo fide