Nature conservation

Threatened species

Sydney Plains 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 saxicola
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered
Gazetted date: 31 Oct 1997
Profile last updated: 26 Oct 2020


A ground orchid with reddish brown and green translucent flowers on a slender stem to 35 cm tall. Plants have 5 - 8 rosette leaves (to 2.5 cm x 1.1 cm), and 2 - 4 closely sheathing stem leaves. Was previously regarded as a form of Pterostylis gibbosa but is now recognised as a distinct taxon. Features that distinguish it from P. gibbosa include: transparent flowers with a dark red-brown shiny lateral sepal; decurved lateral sepals with incurved free points; and broad obovate, dark red-brown labellum (middle petal) which is broadly grooved centrally and with a very large basal lobe.


Restricted to western Sydney between Freemans Reach in the north and Picton in the south. There are very few known populations and they are all very small and isolated. Two populations occur within a conservation reserve (Georges River National Park; Scheyville NP).

Habitat and ecology

  • Most commonly found growing in small pockets of shallow soil in depressions on sandstone rock shelves above cliff lines. The vegetation communities above the shelves where Pterostylis saxicola occurs are sclerophyll forest or woodland on shale/sandstone transition soils or shale soils.
  • All species of Pterostylis are deciduous and die back to fleshy, rounded underground tuberoids. The time of emergence and withering has not been recorded for this species, however flowering occurs from October to December and may vary due to climatic conditions. The above ground parts of the plant whither and die following seed dispersal and the plant persists as a tuberoid until the next year.
  • Typically occurs as scattered individuals or in small groups.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None