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Genus Corybas

Genus Corybas

Corybas Salisb., Parad. Lond. (1805) t. 83

Synonyms:

  • Genus Anzybas M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13 (2002) 442
  • Genus Calcearia Blume, Bijdr. (1825) 417
  • Genus Corysanthes R.Br., Prodr. (1810) 328
  • Genus Gastrosiphon (Schltr.) M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13 (2002) 447
  • Genus Molloybas M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones, Orchadian 13 (2002) 448
  • Genus Nematoceras Hook.f., Fl. Novae-Zelandiae 1 (1855) 249
  • Genus Singularybas Molloy, M.A.Clem. & D.L.Jones

Very small sympodial terrestrial or rarely epiphytic plants arising from a small tuber. Stem short, one-leaved. Leaves not sheathing at the base, glabrous, persistent, convolute, heart-shaped to almost round, often with silvery veins, herbaceous. Inflorescence terminal, carrying a single flower. Flowers medium-sized, very large for the plant. Lateral sepals free or connate at the base, very different in size and shape from the dorsal sepal, which is often hood-like. Petals free, sometimes similar to the lateral sepals, but often quite different. Lip with two very short spurs or without spurs, not mobile. Dorsal sepal and the lip together forming a pitcher-shaped structure. Column-foot absent. Pollinia 4, mealy, caudicles absent, stipe absent, viscidium present.


India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Pacific islands, east to New Zealand. About 140 species; in New Guinea c. 48 species.

Usually in ground moss in sheltered, not too shady places with little undergrowth, predominantly in the mountains, but also in the lowlands. Sometimes epiphytic on mossy tree trunks.

  • Royen, P. van. 1983. The genus Corybas (Orchidaceae) in its eastern areas. Phanerogamarum Monographiae 16. J. Cramer, Vaduz.
  • Dransfield, J., J.B. Comber, and G. Smith. 1986. A synopsis of Corybas (Orchidaceae) in West Malesia and Asia. Kew Bull. 41: 575-613.
  • Ormerod, P. Checklist of Papuasian Orchids (2017) 133.
  • Subfamily Orchidoideae
  • Tribe Diurideae
  • Subtribe Acianthinae
  • Genus Corybas

One of the most enchanting and characteristic of all orchid genera. From a tuber the size of a small pea a short stem with a single leaf is produced, which carries a disproportionally large flower. Often beautifully marked with red and purple, the flower is shaped more or less like a helmet or a pitcher. The species are often quite difficult to identify, especially as the striking colour patterns of the flowers disappear in preserved specimens. Identifying specimens of this genus from New Guinea is at present an almost impossible task, Van Royen's monograph notwithstanding. It seems as if, contrary to the general pattern seen in New Guinea, most species are highly local in their distribution. Undoubtedly, many still await discovery. Their cultivation is certainly not impossible, lack of availability being the main obstacle to would-be cultivators. Although it appears that even the New Guinea species have a dormant stage in which they survive as tiny underground tubers for a few months, they should not be allowed to dry out for too long, and are best kept in a loose mixture of living moss and leaf mould.


Genus Corybas in New Guinea contains 3 sections:

Genus Corybas section Corybas
Genus Corybas section Gastrosiphon
Genus Corybas section Geosiphon


KEY TO THE SECTIONS OF GENUS CORYBAS:

1a. Tube of the lip distinctly inflated == Corybas Section Gastrosiphon
1b. Tube of the lip not or hardly inflated == 2

2a. Lateral sepals short. Petals short. Tube of the lip not inflated == Corybas Section Corybas
2b. Lateral sepals long (rarely short). Petals long. Lip not or hardly inflated == Corybas Section Geosiphon


Genus Corybas in New Guinea contains 55 species:

Corybas aberrans
Corybas aduncus
Corybas albipurpureus
Corybas amabilis
Corybas amungwiwensis
Corybas arachnoideus
Corybas arfakensis
Corybas aristatus
Corybas betsyae
Corybas boridiensis
Corybas callifer
Corybas calophyllus
Corybas calophyllus var. sepalinus
Corybas carinulifer
Corybas cyclopensis
Corybas cymatilis
Corybas diversifolius
Corybas ekuamensis
Corybas epiphyticus
Corybas erythrocarpus
Corybas fenestratus
Corybas finisterreanus
Corybas gastrosiphon
Corybas gibbifer
Corybas helensis
Corybas huonensis
Corybas karkarensis
Corybas klossii
Corybas koresii
Corybas ledermannii
Corybas leucotyle
Corybas longipetalus
Corybas mammillifer
Corybas mankiensis
Corybas montisstellare
Corybas nanus
Corybas naviculisepalus
Corybas palearifer
Corybas porphyrus
Corybas puberulus
Corybas royenii
Corybas sagittatus
Corybas saprophyticus
Corybas sexalatus
Corybas simbuensis
Corybas smithianus
Corybas speculum
Corybas striatus
Corybas subalpinus
Corybas torricellensis
Corybas umbonatus
Corybas urikensis
Corybas ventricosus
Corybas vespertilionis
Corybas viridisepalus


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Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., in situ, photo P.J. Cribb, ex Papua (Indonesia), Pass Valley

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., (three different species), habit, photo T. M. Reeve, based on Reeve RFN 610, RFN 608 and RFN 609 (from left to right)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., habit, photo A. Schuiteman, from PNG, Tumundan, Enga Prov.

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., flower detail, photo A. Schuiteman, from PNG, Tumundan, Enga Prov.

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., flower, photo J. Comber, ex PNG, Lake Iviva)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., habit, photo N.E.G. Cruttwell, based on Cruttwell (1/79, PNG, Enga Prov. Mt. Maip)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., in situ, photo N.E.G. Cruttwell, based on Cruttwell (1/70, PNG, Milne Bay Prov., Agupon)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., in situ, photo N.E.G. Cruttwell, based on Cruttwell (2/91, PNG, Lipizauga Bot. Sanct.)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., in situ, photo N.E.G. Cruttwell, based on Cruttwell (7/74, PNG, Mt. Dayman)

Genus Corybas

Corybas sp., in situ, photo N.E.G. Cruttwell, based on Cruttwell 2537 (2/91, PNG, Lipizauga Bot. Sanct.)

Genus Corybas

Corybas gastrosiphon (Schltr.) Schltr., aff., drawing N.H.S. Howcroft 74, from Bulolo