Onion-Leaf Orchis (Microtis unifolia)

Perennial
M. porrifolia. R.Br.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Onion-Leaf Orchis
Microtis unifolia
Orchidaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Root[46, 61, 153, 173]. No more details are given.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[200]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.
We have very little information on this species. It is a terrestrial orchid that can tolerate light frosts and so could possibly be grown outdoors in the mildest parts of Britain, but its late autumn flowering habit might make it more suited to the greenhouse. The flowers have a powerful if sickly scent[245]. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid[230].
E.Asia to Australasia from China, Indonesia and the Phillipines to Australia and New Zealand.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.