Corybas unguiculatus

Small Helmet-orchid, Pelicans

Tiny perennial herb, occurring either singly or in small colonies, growing from a small tuber.

Additional information

  • FamilyOrchidaceae
  • StoreyLower storey
  • Size10-25 cm high
  • Plant groupingOrchids
  • LeavesSingle egg- to heart-shaped light green leaf 12-35 mm x 10-36 mm, pale red and grey below, ground hugging.
  • Flower colourReddish-purple
  • Flowering timeMay to August
  • FlowersSingle shiny terminal flower to 15 mm long bent down on short slender stalk; central sepal spoon-shaped, erect then incurved, side sepals and petals narrow. Lip (labellum) to 20 mm long, extending beyond hood, margins incurved.
  • Bird attractingNo
  • Butterfly attractingNo
  • Frog habitatNo
  • Growing conditionsMoist to wet sandy or peaty soils in wet heathlands and open forest. Partial to full 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 statusRare in Victoria with few known populations. Known from a few sites within the Shire where it either exists in small numbers or is now extinct.
  • Aboriginal Use Food - tuber
Photographer/s: 1 Cathy Powers ©; 2 Richard Hartlands ©

Plant Communities

  • 08 Mountain Grey Gum Damp Forest – Dandenongs (EVC 29)
  • 30 Swamp Gum Swampy Riparian Woodland (EVC 83)
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