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Nodding Greenhood

Pterostylis nutans


Flowering orchid up to 30 cm tall.

Flowers: Single flower ‘hood’ emerging on a flowering spike 8-30cm tall. Flowers are 1.8–2.5 cm long, showing a strong ‘nodding’ position; and are translucent white colour, with green stripes and orange/brown colouration at the tips. 

Leaves: Egg-shaped to elliptic dark-green leaves in rosette arrangement at the base of the stem, 3–9 cm long, 1–3 cm wide. Leaf margins wavy or crisped. 

What to Observe

•First fully open single flower

•Full flowering (record all days)

•End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

•No flowering

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to delay emergence until later and start flowering earlier in the year because of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start disappearing in areas, as warmer temperatures suppress growth and development. 

By virtue of their sensitivity to the changes in the climate, epiphytes and orchids provide a forewarning about impending damages and act as bio-indicators.

Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?"

When To Look

Flowers from winter to spring (May to October). Dies back to base during summer. 


Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout all year!


Where To Look

Eastern states of Australia in areas of dry sclerophyll forest, wet sclerophyll forest and coastal scrub, in moist rich soils, semi shade to full shade

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions too!

 Nodding Greenhood distribution - Atlas of Living Australia

Nodding Greenhood distribution - Atlas of Living Australia


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  1. What Else?

    May be confused with other greenhood orchids (orchids with green flowers) in the same genus. Nodding Greenhood is distinguished by the obvious ‘nodding’ (downturned) position of the flower. 

  1. Did You Know?

    This orchid is pollinated by a species of fungus gnat, attracted to the flower by a chemical produced by the plant. The insect enters the flower, which temporarily traps it inside, and in attempting to escape, it comes into contact with the sexual organs of the flower and pollination occurs.