Seeds of South Australia
Calochilus cupreus (Orchidaceae)
Copper Beard-orchid
List of species for Calochilus
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Seed collecting:
November to January
Herbarium region:
Southern Lofty
NRM region:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
IBRA region
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Critically Endangered   (IUCN: CR D)   [1 population, Aldinga Scrub; endemic to MLR; has a long dormancy period]
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Calochilus]
Name derivation:
Calochilus from the Greek 'callos' meaning beauty and 'cheilos' meaning lip; referring to the ornamented labellum of most species. Cupreus from Latin meaning copper colour; referring to the labellum which has a coppery tint.
Endemic to South Australia and found only in one reserve in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing in dry coastal sands. However, there is taxonomic confusion with Calochilus campestris.
Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Plant description:
A herbaceous terrestrial orchid with a thick-textured, narrow and channelled leaf up to 20 cm long. Inflorescence an erect slender spike to 40 cm long with numerous green with red stripes flowers, dorsal sepals are thin-textured, openly hooding the column, petals are wide around the column with heavy red streaking, lateral sepals are broadly triangular, labellum with a coppery tint and purple shiny smooth plate at the base, mid part with purple hairs, outer hairs becoming green, tipped purple. Flowering between September and November. Some  useful taxonomic background about this Calochilus species is available on the Native Orchid Society of South Australia webpage
Fruit type:
Brown papery ellipsoid capsule.
Seed collecting:
Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules.
Seed cleaning:
Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refigerator or in liquid nitrogen.