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Flora of Australia Online

Curculigo ensifolia R.Br., Prodr. 290 (1810)

T: Is. Z, Bay 3 [Inglis Is. and Arnhem Bay, Arnhem Land, N.T.], Feb.–Mar. 1803, R.Brown Iter Australiense 5630 ; lecto: BM, fide R.J.F.Henderson, Fl. Australia 45: 475 (1987).

Illustration: K.A.W.Williams, Native Pl. Queensland 1: 81 (1979).

Plant 10–50 cm tall; corm vertically elongated, 1–16 cm long, to 1 cm wide. Leaf lamina flat, complicate or ±plicate, arched; pseudopetiole absent or to 20 cm long. Inflorescences 1–6; peduncle 0.5–4 cm long, flattened; bracts attenuate, 2–6.5 cm long, lowest spathe-like and sheathing, upper when present basally fused to axis internode; lower 1–3 flowers bisexual, remainder ♂. Perianth villous abaxially; tube 1.5–3 cm long above ovary; lobes ±elliptic, 5–12 mm long, yellow, glabrous adaxially. Stamens 3.5–5.5 mm long; anthers 1.5–4 mm long, versatile. Stylar limb 1.6–4.8 mm long including stigmatic lobes 0.6–2.5 mm long; ovary 2–3 mm long. Fruit oblong but irregular, 6–11 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide. Seeds ±ellipsoidal, 3–4.5 mm long. Fig. 61D–F, 67 I.

Occurs in northern and eastern Australia. 

A variable taxon which on study of more Australian material, may prove to contain more than one species or subspecies. Whether the earlier name Curculigo orchioides applies to some, all, or none of this material is also not clear; it would require study of Indian and other SE Asian material to establish its relevance. Pending further critical study, two varieties are recognised here.


Leaves 10–70 cm long; lamina 5–18 mm wide, subglabrous to moderately pubescent; stylar limb more than 3 mm long

var. ensifolia

Leaves more than 15 cm long; lamina less than 7 mm wide, subglabrous; stylar limb less than 3 mm long

var. longifolia


Data derived from Flora of Australia Volume 45 (1987), a product of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia