Orchidaceae (Orchids) >

Rhizanthella johnstonii, known as the Southern Underground Orchid is a species of orchid in the family Orchidaceae and is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia.

This is a subterranean herb, that has a horizontal rhizome and can have a head of up to sixty small white flowers with a pink tinge, that are surrounded by large, cream-coloured to pale pinkish cream bracts.

Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid), Goldfields Esperance Region WA © Terry Dunham
Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid) © Terry Dunham
Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid), Goldfields Esperance Region WA © Terry Dunham
Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid) © Terry Dunham
Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid), Goldfields Esperance Region WA © Terry Dunham
Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid), Goldfields Esperance Region WA © Terry Dunham

Photographs © Terry Dunham


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Charophyta
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Superorder: Lilianae
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Genus: Rhizanthella
  • Species: Rhizanthella johnstonii

Footnote & References

  1. Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid), Goldfields Esperance Region WA. Photographs © Terry Dunham
  2. Rhizanthella johnstonii — South Coast Underground Orchid, Species Profile and Threats Database, DCCEEW, https://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=89853
  3. Rhizanthella johnstonii K.W.Dixon & Christenh., South Coast Underground Orchid, Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). Florabase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, https://florabase.dbca.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/48612
  4. Rhizanthella johnstonii, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/ALA_DR656_1661
  5. Rhizanthella johnstonii, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/746152-Rhizanthella-johnstonii

OrchidaceaeOrchidaceae Index Caladenia barbarossa (Dragon Orchid) Caladenia bryceana subsp. bryceana (Dwarf Spider Orchid) Caladenia corynephora (Club-lipped Spider Orchid) Caladenia drummondii (Winter Spider Orchid) Caladenia integra (Smooth-lipped Spider Orchid) Caladenia latifolia (Pink Fairies) Caladenia lobata (Butterfly Spider Orchid) Caleana major (Flying Duck Orchid) Caladenia melanema (Ballerina Orchid) Caladenia polychroma (Joseph’s Spider Orchid) Caladenia pulchra (Slender Spider Orchid) Caladenia pusilla (Tiny Caladenia) Caladenia serotina (Christmas Spider Orchid) Caladenia tessellata (Thick-lip Spider Orchid) Cephalotus follicularis (Western Australian Pitcher Plant) Cryptostylis ovata (Slipper Orchid) Dendrobium kingianum (Pink Rock Orchid) Dendrobium speciosum (Rock Orchid) Drakaea glyptodon (King-in-his-carriage Orchid) Drakaea livida (Warty Hammer Orchid) Elythranthera emarginata (Pink Enamel Orchid) Epiblema grandiflorum (Babe-in-a-cradle Orchid) Ericksonella saccharata (Sugar Orchid) Glossodia major (Wax-lip Orchid) Leptoceras menziesii (Rabbit Orchid) Microtis cupularis (Cupped Mignonette Orchid) Paracaleana nigrita (Flying Duck Orchid) Pterostylis angusta (Narrow-hooded Shell Orchid) Pterostylis cheraphila (Floodplain Rustyhood) Pterostylis ciliata (Hairy Rufous Greenhood) Pterostylis picta (Painted Rufous Greenhood) Rhizanthella johnstonii (Southern Underground Orchid) Spiculaea ciliata (Elbow Orchid) Thelymitra antennifera (Lemon-scented Sun Orchid) Thelymitra sp. Ongerup (Orange Sun Orchids) Thelymitra speciosa (Eastern Queen of Sheba’s)

FloraFlora in Australia Flora Index Acacia Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paws) Annual Yellowtop Apium prostratum subsp. prostratum var filiforme Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum) Australian Bluebell Australian Gossypium Banksia Batswing Coral Tree Billy Buttons Birdsville Indigo Blue Pincushion Bush Banana Callistemon Callitris drummondii (Drummond’s Cypress Pine) Calothamnus quadrifidus Cape Honeysuckle Cassia fistula (Golden Shower) Cattle Bush Common Heath Crotalaria Darwinia wittwerorum (Wittwer’s Mountain Bell) Daviesia oppositifolia (Rattle-pea) Desert Oaks Drumsticks Eremophila Eucalyptus Ficus Flannel Cudweed (Actinobole uliginosum) Georges Indigo Goatshead Burr (Sclerolaena bicornis) Golden Everlasting Goodenia Gossypium Grass and Grasses Grass Trees Grevillea Grey Germander Hakea Kapok Bush (Aerva javanica) Lambertia sp Leptospermum MacDonnell Ranges Cycad Maireana scleroptera Mexican Poppy Minnie Daisy Mistletoe Family Nardoo Native Apricot Nicotiana megalosiphon subspecies sessilifolia Nuytsia floribunda Orange Spade Flower Orchidaceae Parakeelyas (Calandrinia) Pebble Bush (Stylobasium spathulatum) Perennial Yellow Top Pink Everlasting Pink Rock Wort Poached Egg Daisy Portulaca Proteaceae Ptilotus Quandong Resurrection Fern Rosy Dock Ruby Saltbush Santalum Solanum Spike Centaury Spinifex Storkbill (Erodum cygnorum) Striped Mint Bush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tall Saltbush Tangled Leschenaultia Tar Vine Tribulus eichlerianus Upside-down Plant Urodon dasyphylla Variable Daisy Waratah (Telopea) Wertabona Daisy White Cedar (Melia azedarach) White Indigo White Paper Daisy Wild Passionfruit Wild Stock Woolly-Headed Burr Daisy Woolly Bush Yellow-keeled Swainsona