Corunastylis despectans

Sharp or Purple Midge-orchid

Slender erect perennial herb growing from a fleshy tuber, stem greenish-brown. Flowers upside down with lip (labellum) on top.

Additional information

  • SynonymGenoplesium despectans, Prasophyllum despectans
  • FamilyOrchidaceae
  • StoreyLower storey
  • Size10-25 cm high
  • Plant groupingOrchids
  • LeavesSingle slender leaf, round in cross section, hollow, to 25 cm long, sheathed along stem until just below flower spike, open blade to 15 mm long, pressed against stem.
  • Flower colourDark purple or green with purple marks
  • Flowering timeJanuary to June
  • FlowersSpike 1-4 cm long of 5-45 crowded, nodding flowers to 3 mm across. Central sepal hooded, petals and lateral sepals narrow, tapering. Lip tapering to a long pointed tip.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatNo
  • Growing conditionsWell drained clay soils in open forests and on ridges. Semi shade.
  • Garden useUse of orchids in gardens is not recommended, unless they already occur naturally, in which case they need to be protected. Removing orchids from the bush usually results in their death and further depletes remaining wild orchid populations.
  • Commercially availableNever
  • Conservation statusSignificant within the Shire. Known from very few local sites.
  • Aboriginal Use Food - tuber
  • Related speciesC. archeri can hybridise with C. despectans when they occur together. Similar to Prasophyllum. Distinguish by the movable claw on the labellum and the leaf sheath which opens near the flower spike rather than well below it. Flowering is summer/autumn rather than spring.
Photographer/s: 1 Colin Rowan ©; 2 Cathy Powers ©

Plant Communities

  • 18 Messmate Shrubby Foothill Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 45)
  • 27 Red Stringybark Grassy Dry Forest - Dandenongs (EVC 22)
  • 25 Long-leaf Box Grassy Dry Forest - Southern Dandenongs (EVC 22)
  • 32 Silvertop Ash Shrubby Foothill Forest (EVC 45)
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