Banking threatened orchid seed for the future

Banking threatened orchid seed for the future

Over the past six months Nature Glenelg Trust has been working on a collaborative project with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, ForestrySA and private consultants to bank the seed of some of the South East’s most threatened orchids.  For this project, a Native Vegetation Council research grant has funded the group to target 23 orchid species (listed under the SA NPW Act 1972):

Collecting and banking the seed of these threatened orchid species helps provide an insurance policy for the future.  Seed will be made available to conservation projects to grow on and then reintroduce plants back into the wild as needed.

The team has been really busy and successful! Together we have over-achieved, monitoring and collecting seed from 19 target species at multiple sites and have also opportunistically collected other rare orchid species.  This has required the team to get back to the orchids just when the seed has matured, but before the kangaroos or rabbits graze – so timing is of the essence.  It has also taken the team to all different habitat types across the South East, so you might have seen us walking through grassy woodlands, scrabbling through mallee, or wading and crawling through swamps!

The orchid season has not finished yet and we have all been out monitoring some of our summer flowering orchids.  Currently Bell-flower Hyacinth-orchid and Moose-orchid are flowering and the Late Spider-orchid, Cinnamon Bells and Pretty Waterholes Leek-orchid are seeding.

The Elegant Spider-orchid

One of the more cryptic flowering species – the Late-flowering Helmet-orchid

An even rarer sight! A seed capsule on a Late-flowering Helmet-orchid

Pretty Waterholes Leek-orchid

Cath Dickson