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Corunastylis facts for kids

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Midge orchids
Corunastylis nuda.jpg
Corunastylis nuda, the tiny midge orchid
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Prasophyllinae
Genus: Corunastylis
Type species
Corunastylis apostasioides
  • Prasophyllum R.Br.
  • Genoplesium R.Br.

Corunastylis is a genus of about 50 species of plants in the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Commonly called midge orchids or pygmy orchids, they are terrestrial, deciduous, perennial, tuberous herbs found in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. They are similar to orchids in the genus Genoplesium and have been included with them in the past.


Midge orchids are all terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, sympodial herbs. A single thin, hollow, cylinder-shaped long surrounds and is fused to the flowering stem with a short, free tip. From a few to up to fifty tiny flowers are crowded along a thin flowering stem. As with leek orchids (genus Prasophyllum), the flowers are inverted so that the labellum is above the column rather than below it. The sepals and petals are hairy in some species but glabrous in others, and often have a small gland near their tips. The labellum is attached by a small hinge and in some species vibrates in the slightest breeze.

Taxonomy and naming

In 1888, Robert Fitzgerald formally described Corunastylis apostasioides and published the description in Australian Orchids, the first time the name Corunastylis had been used. In 1889, Mueller changed the name to Prasophyllum apostasioides and in 1989, David Jones and Mark Clements placed it and most other species of Prasophyllum into Genoplesium. In 2002 Jones and Clements moved all the species of Genoplesium back into Corunastylis except for the New South Wales species Genoplesium baueri.

Not all authorities have accepted the move from Genoplesium to Corunastylis, including the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families maintained by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The genus name Corunastylis is derived from Greek words meaning "a thick stick" and "a style".

Distribution and habitat

Midge orchids are mainly endemic to eastern Australia, but two (C. nuda and C. pumila) occur in New Zealand and one (Corunastylis caloptera) is endemic to New Caledonia. They often grow in moist places with rushes or sedges, making tham difficult to see.


Most species of Corunastylis are pollinated by small vinegar flies attracted by the scent produced by glands on the flowers, but a few are self-pollinating.

Species list

Although the name Corunastylis is not accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, it is used by Australian authorities. The following is a list of Corunastylis species as recognised in Australia. Common names are those used by David Jones.

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