Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ophiorrhiza australiana subsp. heterostyla Halford

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves, flowers and immature infructescence. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Halford, D.A. (1991) Austrobaileya 3(3): 372. Type: Queensland, Massey Gorge, c. 23 km NW of Silver Plains Station, 13 50 S, 143 24 E, 9 Nov.1980, J.R.Clarkson 3619; holo: BRI; iso: QRS.

Common name

Australian snake root


Occasionally grows into a shrub 1 m tall but usually flowers and fruits when much smaller.


Terminal buds and young shoots clothed in brownish hairs. Leaf blades about 5-16 x 2-5.5 cm. Midrib and lateral veins sparsely clothed in pale coloured hairs on the underside of the leaf blade. Petioles of moderate dimensions usually 1-2 cm long. Stipules broad at the base but ending in one or two aristate tips.


Inflorescence short, 3-6 branched, about 1-5 cm long with about 10-20 flowers per branch. Calyx tube (hypanthium) about 1-1.5 mm long, calyx lobes about 0.7-1.5 mm long. Corolla tube about 2.5-4.0 mm long, lobes about 1-2 mm long, inflexed or hooked at the apex. Corolla tube densely hairy at the orifice, hairs straight and appressed. Anthers about 1 mm long. Style inserted in a bilobed yellow glandular disk at the apex of the ovary.


Capsules about 2-3 x 6-7 mm. Seeds about 0.5 mm long. Testa surface reticulate.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to CYP, known only from the Iron Range and the McIlwraith Range. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed lowland and upland rain forest.

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