Corybas 'Helmet Orchids'
(The genus name has no relevance)
This species has an international spread from the Himalayas, China,
Malaysia, New Guinea, Polynesia, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
It is at it's best in New Zealand where the elongated petals and sepals
make them unbelievable attractive. By comparison, the Australian species
can only be referred to as the 'poor relations'.
Western Australia has just four species, Corybas abditus, Corybas despectans,
Corybas limpidus and Corybas recurvus.
All grow close to the coast, some within a few metres of the sea, where
they flower on stabilised dunes under thick vegetation. Most grow in the
heavy rainfall areas of the Southwest, and although small, are easily
found because of their habit of producing dense colonies of prostrate,
heart shaped leaves. Just below the surface, tubers are joined by underground
roots. Only mature plants bear flowers (about 10%).
An interesting observation that in mature plants, when fertilised, ovaries
extend upwards by a stalk 15 centimetres tall to aid seed dispersal by
The production of underground tubers is also a positive reproduction strategy.
Ron Heberle. April 2003