Yarra Ranges Shire Council


Microtidium atratum

Common Name: Yellow or Swamp Onion-orchid
Synonym: Microtis atrata
Family: Orchidaceae
Size: 5-12cm high
Description: Slender yellow-green perennial herb with round tubers forming loose colonies. Stout flower stem erupts from hollow onion-like leaf.
Leaves: Single erect yellow-green leaf 10-40cm long, sheath opening close to flowerhead.
Flowering: Crowded spike of 5-40 tiny, sometimes scented, stalkless flowers (to 2mm); central sepal hooded; lateral sepals drooping, blunt; petals spreading. Lip elliptic, bent downwards, tip rounded.
Flower Colour: Yellow
Flowering Time: September to November
Growing Conditions: Swampy winter wet soils. Semi shade. The smallest Victorian orchid flower.
Garden Use: Use of orchids in gardens is not recommended, unless they already occur naturally, in which case they need to be protected. Removing orchids from the bush usually results in their death and further depletes remaining wild orchid populations.
Related Species:
Plant Communities: 8, 30
Conservation Status: Probably extinct within the Shire due to habitat loss. Last collection in 1932.
Aboriginal Use: Food - tuber
Commercially available: Never
Bird Attracting: No
Butterfly Attracting: No
Frog Habitat: No
Photographer: 1 Colin Rowan ©; 2 Cathy Powers ©
Photo montage - default
Last Updated: 30/06/2010
Yarra Ranges Shire Council © 2009
P O Box 105, Anderson Street, Lilydale, VIC 3140
Tel: 1300 368 333 Fax: 9735 4249