Cyrtostylis rotundifolia


Cyrtostylis: curved style
rotundifolia: round leaf; from the Latin rotundus and folium

Common Name(s)

winter orchid

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Cyrtostylis rotundifolia Hook.f.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class



Acianthus reniformis (R.Br.) Schltr.


Indigenous. In New Zealand known from the lower two thirds of the North Island and in the South Island confined to the upper half of the island (mainly in north-west Nelson).


Coastal to lower montane in open clay pans or lightly shaded scrub. May be found amongst mosses on basalt rock. Most commonly found in shallow leaf litter amongst sparse mosses or hard, exposed clay soils.


Winter to spring flowering perennial herb. Plants at flower up to 100 mm tall (usually less), elongating in seed, Stem erect, slender. Leaf sessile, almost basal, 10-40 x 8-17 mm, grey-green with whitish veins above, pale silvery green below, ovate, obtuse to subacute, base cordate to rounded. Inflorescence a raceme up to 30 mm long; floral bracts diminutive, membranous. Flowers 1-4; perianth 8-10 mm long, spreading, pink or pinkish-green. Sepals subequal; dorsal sepal narrow linear-lanceolate, obtuse, erect, concave; lateral sepal narrow-linear, acute, projecting forwards or widely spreading. Petals similar to lateral sepals. Labellum 10 x 4 mm, oblong; apex obtuse, not recurved, projecting horizontally forwards, the adjacent margins toothed; surface more or less plane, lamina bearing two prominent, spheroidal basal calli and two, flat, longitudinal ridges that extend nearly to the apex. Column shorter than the labellum, conspicuous; wings narrow below, widening above so that the stigma is flanked by two lobes. Pollinia two per anther cell, more or less ellipsoid to tabular, some what crescent-shaped, crumbling readily in single grains.

Similar Taxa

Most likely to be confused when vegetative with species of spider orchid (Corybas (those also knonw as Nematoceras) from which it is not easily distinguished unless bearing flower buds, which are multiple in a raceme, rather than mostly solitary, rarely in pairs. From Cyrtostylis oblongus it differs by its grey-green rather than yellow-green to green ovate rather than oblong leaf. Other distinctions are less clear and the status of these two species requires further investigation. C. rotundifolia could be confused with Acianthus sinclairii from which it differs by its preference for more open habitats, and by having sessile leaves held close to or at the base of the stem and lying on or very close to the ground, and the labellum is larger, oblong, rather than ovate, and the petals are as long as, or longer than the lateral sepals, rather than much shorter. The very uncommon Townsonia deflexa is similar to both Cyrtostylis species but occupies very different forest habitats and it forms interconnected creeping patches. Townsonia deflexa has a much smaller, petiolate leaf distinct from the flowering stem which supports a small, orbicular rather than ovate cauline leaf, otherwise this species has flowers very similar to those of other Cyrtostylis and indeed Acianthus.


June - October

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


October - January

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened.

Chromosome No.

2n = 44+2

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.

Taxonomic Notes

Long regarded as either Acianthus reniformis or Cyrtostylis reniformis. Based on a mostly unpublished molecular (nrITS based study) and limited chromosomal evidence Cyrtostylis reniformis is now regarded as an Australian endemic (B.P.J. Molloy pers.comm.). New Zealand plants treated under that name have been referred to Cyrtostylis oblonga Hook.f. and C. rotundifolia (B.P.J. Molloy pers. comm.), however, Paul Kores (pers. comm.) on the basis of critical multi-marker DNA and morphological based studies of Acianthus and it allies treats Cyrtostylis as a synonym of Acianthus and does not recognise two species for New Zealand. More recently, an as yet unpublished (now in press) study of the Australian and New Zealand Orchidaceae has shown that Cyrtostylis is not allied to Acianthus but rather is sister to Corybas (which as circumscribed there now includes the segregate genera Anzybas, Nematoceras, Singularybas - but not Molloybas) (P. Weston pers. comm. November 2014).


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2007: Description adapted from Moore and Edgar (1970).

References and further reading

Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. II. Government Printer, Wellington.

This page last updated on 19 Jan 2015