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Genoplesium alticola facts for kids

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Tableland midge orchid
Scientific classification
  • Corunastylis alticola (D.L.Jones & B.Gray) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem.

Genoplesium alticola, commonly known as the tableland midge orchid, is a small terrestrial orchid endemic to Queensland. It has a single thin leaf fused to the flowering stem and up to twenty five small, hairy, dark purplish-red and green flowers. It grows in two small areas of the state at altitudes between 600 and 750 m (2,000 and 2,500 ft).


Genoplesium alticola is a terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber and a single thin leaf 150–250 mm (6–10 in) long and fused to the flowering stem with the free part 15–22 mm (0.6–0.9 in) long. Between ten and twenty five dark purplish-red and green flowers are well spaced along a flowering stem 18–40 mm (0.7–2 in) tall but lower than the leaf. The flowers are 5–6 mm (0.20–0.24 in) long, about 5 mm (0.2 in) wide and are inverted so that the labellum is above the column rather than below it. The dorsal sepal is egg-shaped, about 5 mm (0.20 in) long and 4 mm (0.2 in) wide with darker edges and three lines along its centre. The edges of the dorsal sepal have short, dark hairs. The lateral sepals are linear to lance-shaped, dark purplish red, about 5 mm (0.2 in) long, 1.5 mm (0.06 in) wide and spread widely apart from each other. The petals are a broad egg-shape, dark purplish red with marking similar to those on the dorsal sepal and are about 3 mm (0.1 in) long and 1.5 mm (0.06 in) wide densely hairy edges. The labellum is elliptic to egg-shaped with the narrower end towards the base, about 3 mm (0.1 in) long, 1.5 mm (0.06 in) wide, with short, coarse hairs on the sides. There is an oblong callus in the centre of the labellum and covering about half of its surface. Flowering occurs between December and February.

Taxonomy and naming

Genoplesium alticola was first formally described in 1991 by David Jones from a specimen collected near Danbulla and the description was published in Australian Orchid Research. The specific epithet (alticola) is derived from the Latin words altus meaning "high" and cola meaning "dweller", referring to the plant's relatively high altitude habitat.

Distribution and habitat

Genoplesium alticola grows in sparse forest, often in grass tussocks on ridges on higher places. It is only known from the Atherton Tableland near Heberton and on Walshs Pyramid.

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