Acianthus R.Br.

Mosquito Orchids

Greek acis – a point; anthos – flower; an allusion to the fine points on the tips of the floral segments, particularly the sepals.

Terrestrial herbs, sympodial, deciduous, stoloniferous. Tubers spherical, paired at base of leaf, also produced singly at ends of stolons. Leaves basal, solitary, heart-shaped or angular, sometimes lobed, thin, dark green, purplish below, stalked. Inflorescence a terminal raceme, erect. Flowers resupinate, 1-many, very small, mostly purplish. Sepals similar or dissimilar, dorsal free, sometimes broader or longer than laterals. Petals smaller than sepals, free. Labellum entire, triangular or heart-shaped, fleshy, margins curved under. Column slender, arching, wings small or absent. Pollinia 4, waxy.

These native terrestrial orchids are occasionally grown in pots by enthusiasts. They are very hardy and grow well and multiply in a light well-drained compost that is normally changed annually.

About 22 species from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia.

Small purplish insect-like flowers; heart-shaped leaf held horizontally on or above the ground.

Backhouse & Jeanes (1995).

Source: Jeanes, J. (2005). Orchidaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Asparagales
family       Orchidaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Acianthus exsertus R.Br.
species         Acianthus fornicatus R.Br.