Acianthus fornicatus

Pixie cups

This deciduous terrestrial orchid occurs commonly in rainforest verges and moist areas of eucalyptus forests. Its small heart shaped leaf can cover the ground in such numbers that it is impossible to walk through the area without stepping on this orchid. The flower itself is quite small and insignificant and easily overlooked.

The leaf is up to about 30 mm in length and is purplish red underneath. The flower stem is to about 300 mm tall with up to a dozen flowers. The flowers are about 6 mm across with a translucent hooded dorsal sepal. The labellum is green or purplish with a central band of calli.

The translucent hooded dorsal sepal makes this orchid easy to identify when in flower. When not in flower, its leaf can be distinguished from corybas by its pointed heart shape leaf, corybas having a much rounder base to the heart.

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