Genus Pterostylis

Pterostylis R.Br.,
Prodr. (1810) 326

Sympodial epiphytic or usually terrestrial plants. Subterranean tuber present. Stem short to elongated. Leaves few, sheathing at the base, glabrous, dorso-ventrally flattened, not articulate, convolute, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, a raceme or carrying a single flower. Flowers medium-sized to rather large, resupinate, green, or brownish-red. Lateral sepals connate. Petals free, falcate, together with the dorsal sepal forming a hood-like structure. Lip without spur, hinged to the column, with a slender basal appendage. Column-foot present. Pollinia 4, mealy, caudicles absent, stipe absent, viscidium absent.

East Timor, Moluccas, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia. About 100 species; in New Guinea 2 species.

Terrestrial in montane forest or in grasslands and stony river banks at high altitudes, also epiphytic on mossy tree trunks, tree ferns and logs.

The two New Guinea members of this genus represent only a small sample of this predominantly Australian genus. Pterostylis is a highly characteristic genus with its large, pitcher-shaped flowers, and impossible to confuse with any other. Unlike many other terrestrial genera they are usually fairly easy to cultivate and nowadays quite popular with amateurs.