Genus Calochilus

Calochilus R.Br.,
Prodr. (1810) 320

Terrestrial plants with subterranean tubers. Leaf 1, sheathing at the base, narrow, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened, not articulate, convolute, often withered at anthesis, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a raceme. Flowers small, resupinate, usually with blue colours on the lip. Sepals free. Petals fairly similar to the lateral sepals. Lip without spur, not mobile, strongly hairy. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 2, mealy, caudicles absent, stipe absent, viscidium absent.

Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia. About 10 species; in New Guinea one, endemic, species [Calochilus caeruleus L.O.Williams].

Terrestrial in seasonally wet grassland in savanna woodland.

The single New Guinea member of this genus is an unusual ground orchid with a metallic blue lip with rufous hairs, somewhat reminiscent of the European Ophrys speculum. Like Arthrochilus it is a typically Australian element in the New Guinea orchid flora and similarly restricted in its distribution to the seasonally dry southern part of the island.