Plants of
South Australia
Corybas sp. aff. diemenicus (Coastal)
Orchidaceae
Coastal Helmet-orchid
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Etymology

Corybas from the Greek 'korybas' one of the dancing priests of the goddess Cybele in Phrygia, or a drunken man, an allusion perhaps to the flower’s resemblance to the priest’s head-dress, or to the stoop of a drunken man. The transcript name refers to its close relationship with Corybas diemenicus and its coastal habitat.

Distribution and status

Found only in the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in coast and near-coastal areas in swamps and watercourses dominated by Leptospermum lanigerum. Also found in Victoria. Native. Very rare in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria.
Herbarium region: South Eastern
NRM region: South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Annual terrestrial orchid with a single circular to cordate, sometimes 3-lobed leaf which is green above, frosty underneath, to 25 mm long and 25 mm wide, usually lying flat on the ground. Flower is reddish-purple on a very short stalk. Dorsal sepal dark reddish, broadly oblong-obovate, narrowly contracted at base, hooded, covering labellum and extending beyond it, lateral sepals linear, tapered, fused at expanded base, petals linear, usually directed forwards. Labellum erect, about as long as lamina, auricles wide and opening downwards obscured by labellum lamina, lamina acutely recurved, expanded into trumpet-shaped orifice, crimson-streaked along veins with reddish bristles in front of boss. Flowering between September and October. This species can be distinguished from C. diemenicus by the labellum auricles which are obscured by the lamina, the later flowering period and it's unique habitat. Fruits are brown papery ellipsoid capsule. Seeds are very small brown ellipsoid seed with a long cylindrical translucent brown mesh-like covering.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and December. Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules. Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen. For the NVC South East Orchid Project one population consisting of more than 15 individuals was recorded in Pick Swamp. A total of 4,000 seeds (0.004 g) were banked from this population. Seed viability was estimated at 87%. More research is needed in order to understand the requirements for seed germination in the genus Corybas.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA4,000 (0.004 g)2 pods9-Dec-2013DJD2671
South Eastern
1-Nov-201687%-80°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.