Nature conservation

Threatened species

Illawarra Greenhood - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Pterostylis gibbosa
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Profile last updated: 17 Aug 2018


Pterostylis - the greenhoods - is a large genus of ground-dwelling orchids with mostly green flowers. The Illawarra Greenhood has a rosette of rounded leaves at the base of the stem, each to 35 mm long. In addition there are up to six leaves that sheath the flower stem, which may be 45 cm high and bear up to seven flowers. The flowers are bright glossy green with transparent patches in the hood. The very broad black labellum (‘lip’ petal) protrudes from the front of the flower.


Known from a small number of populations in the Hunter region (Milbrodale), the Illawarra region (Albion Park and Yallah) and the Shoalhaven region (near Nowra). It is apparently extinct in western Sydney which is the area where it was first collected (1803).

Habitat and ecology

  • All known populations grow in open forest or woodland, on flat or gently sloping land with poor drainage.
  • In the Illawarra region, the species grows in woodland dominated by Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis, Woollybutt E. longifolia and White Feather Honey-myrtle Melaleuca decora. Near Nowra, the species grows in an open forest of Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata, Forest Red Gum and Grey Ironbark E. paniculata. In the Hunter region, the species grows in open woodland dominated by Narrow-leaved Ironbark E. crebra, Forest Red Gum and Black Cypress Pine Callitris endlicheri.
  • The Illawarra Greenhood is a deciduous orchid that is only visible above the ground between late summer and spring, and only when soil moisture levels can sustain its growth. The leaf rosette grows from an underground tuber in late summer, followed by the flower stem in winter. After a spring flowering, the plant begins to die back and seed capsules form (if pollination has taken place).
  • As with many other greenhoods, male fungus gnats are believed to be the pollinator.
  • The Illawarra Greenhood can survive occasional burning and grazing because of its capacity to reshoot from an underground tuber.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None