Orthoceras R.Br.
  • R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 316 (1810)

This is a synonym of Diuridinae Lindl.

General Description

Perennial geophytic herbs. Roots filamentous. Tubers ovoid to ellipsoid, paired, fleshy, naked; replacement tubers produced on the end of short droppers; daughter tubers absent. Stem erect, short, unbranched, terete, with membranous cataphylls at each node. Leaves basal, 2-6 per shoot, spirally arranged, sessile; lamina much longer than wide, erect, convolute in bud, conduplicate, margins entire; venation anastomosing. Inflorescence racemose, 1-many flowered, erect, terminal; scape wiry, with 1-3 sterile bracts, the lowest bract often extended and leaf-like; floral bract foliaceous, sheathing. flowers resupinate, dull-coloured, sessile; perianth firm and fleshy. Dorsal sepal free, shorter and broader than the lateral sepals, concave, cucullate. Lateral sepals free, filiform-terete, projecting as spreading to erect horns. Petals free, much smaller and markedly dissimilar to the sepals, hidden by the dorsal sepal, bilobed or unequally emarginate. Labellum free, attached by its base to the anterior column base, markedly dissimilar in size and shape to the sepals and petals, ecalcarate; lamina strongly three lobed, curved; lateral lobes erect and incurved, closely flanking the column; mid-lobe flat, recurved, the distal margins entire; callus consisting of either a basal ridge or two basal swellings more or less connected to a mound on the anterior side; nectar absent. Column with stamen and style almost completely free, very short; wings narrow, fused only at the base, papillate, erect and flanking the filament and style; column foot absent; anther dorsal, erect, two-celled, persistent, basifixed; pollinarium present, consisting of two pollinia attached directly to a viscidium; pollinia clavate, mealy, cream; viscidium dorsal; rostellum apical; stigma entire, large, circular. Ovary elongate, ribbed, glabrous. Capsules dehiscent, thin-walled, glabrous, erect. Seeds numerous, light-coloured, winged.


Orthoceras, which is distributed between about 21 °30' south in New Caledonia and about 42° south in Tasmania, grows as solitary individuals or in loose groups, reproducing solely from seed. In Australia Orthoceras occurs in moist grassy habitats, heath land and sclerophyll forests, mostly in the lowlands but extending up to about 700 m. In New Caledonia it grows in maquis on ultrabasic soils, and in New Zealand it has been recorded from lowland clay banks and road embankments in forests. Plants are dormant over late summer, grow actively in late autumn and winter, and flower in late spring to early summer. Dispersal of seed begins 8-12 weeks after pollination.


Orthoceras comprises one to three species distributed in Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia.


None recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Australasia Australia New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • New Zealand New Zealand North
  • New Zealand South
  • Pacific Southwestern Pacific New Caledonia


  • 1 Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-71827. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P.J., Chase, M.C. & Rasmussen, F.N. (2001). Orchidoideae (Part 1). Genera Orchidacearum 2: 1-416. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
  • 3 Pridgeon, A.M., Cribb, P., Chase, M.W. & Rasmussen, F.N. Genera orchidacearum. Vol. 2, Orchidoideae. (Oxford University Press: 2003).
  • 4 Brown, R. Original publication of Orthoceras. Holl., (1810).

 Information From

WCS higher taxonomy
  • A All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • B See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.