Tasmanian Native Orchids

nickthetasmaniac

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This will hopefully be a long-running thread documenting my (rather ambitious) project to find and photograph all of Tasmania's native orchid species*.

Tassie is home to about 200 individual species and a number of hybrids, although the total varies as new species are discovered and old species are consolidated. For the time being, lets say there's 217. About one third of these are endemic to the State.

They're found across most parts of the state, from coastal scrub to grasslands to cool-temperate rainforest to montane areas, and there are species in flower during every month of the year (with a distinct peak in Oct-Dec). Some are prolific (such as the Mayfly below) while some are very elusive, and only flower under very specific environmental conditions (such as the bushfire dependent Fire Orchid).

For anyone used to the big tropical hybrids you find in commercial florists, Tasmanian orchids range from small to very small (the smallest having flowers only a few mm's across).

I mainly use a Pen F and m.ZD 60mm Macro for my orchid photos, although some of the earlier ones were shot with an EM5 or Ricoh GRII.

*Quite possible the internet won't exist by the time I finish :biggrin:

I'm also sharing this project on IG @_orchidism

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Thelymitra simulata (Collared Sun Orchid) | Tasman National Park (Pen F + 60mm Macro)

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Prasophyllum apoxychillum
(Tapered Leek Orchid) | Tasman National Park (GRII)

Endemic to Tasmania and listed as 'endangered'.

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Acianthus caudatus
(Mayfly Orchid) | Tasman National Park (GRII)
 
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nickthetasmaniac

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These are two of the three Tasmanian members of the Pterostylis longifolia complex. Visually the only reliable way to tell the difference is the amount of dark colouring on the labellum, or 'tongue'.

The third member of this group is the endemic Pterostylis stenochila (Green-lip Greenhood), whose labellum is all-green with no colouring at all. I have found P. stenochila, but I'm yet to get a good image...

When an insect lands on the labellum it snaps shut, holding the insect inside long enough for pollination to occur before slowly releasing (same process as a trigger plant).

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Pterostylis melagramma (Black-stripe Greenhood) | Tasman National Park (Pen F and m.ZD 60mm Macro)

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Pterostylis willliamsonii
(Brown-lip Greenhood) | Tasman National Park (Pen F and m.ZD 60mm Macro)

Endemic to Tasmania.
 

nickthetasmaniac

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Thelymitra cyanea (Veined Sun Orchid) | Tasman National Park (EM5 and Super-Macro-Takumar 50/f4)

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Thelymitra rubra (Pink Sun Orchid) | Tasman National Park (Pen F and m.ZD 60mm Macro)
 

nickthetasmaniac

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This one was quite exciting as it was the first time that the species has been identified in southern Tasmania, a range extension of around 350km.

The species is highly responsive to disturbance and was found about 18 months after a control burn in the area.

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Caladenia pusilla (Tiny Caladenia) | Tasman National Park (GRII)
 

nickthetasmaniac

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The first of the season's spider orchids.

C. caudata is endemic to Tasmania and listed as 'vulnerable'. It is a species that was probably common once, but its favoured habitat (native grassland and open woodland) has mostly been converted to pasture or housing. Now it's only found in a few sites around the State.

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Caladenia caudata (Tailed Spider Orchid) | Waverley Flora Park (Pen F and m.ZD 60mm Macro)
 
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Bushboy

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Wow!
This one was quite exciting as it was the first time that the species has been identified in southern Tasmania, a range extension of around 350km.

The species is highly responsive to disturbance and was found about 18 months after a control burn in the area.

View attachment 770328
Caladenia pusilla (Tiny Caladenia) | Tasman National Park (GRII)
Nice find! Wow!
Backing up a bit, I was checking out the pterostylus jobbies, and the bit that snaps shut and traps the pollinating insect, was actually a hinge like operation, that uses the weight of the insect to trip the hinge. I actually got vid of the fly doing it..
Cool thread! Best of luck.
 

Richard_M

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Great thread, and great captures, thank you for sharing.

At one stage I was into all sorts of genre’s, including fungi. Then I discovered native orchids. I don’t believe I’ve been so obsessed with a subject as I am with native orchids. They are such a fascinating and frustrating subject, not only to find, but also to photograph. I must get onto instagram to follow your progress! All the best, and good luck with your venture.
 

ralf-11

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No just a keen amateur, and I happen to work in an area with a lot of orchid diversity.
ok, you might want to look around at local univ.s to see if someone is studying orchids there - or a conservation group. You could volunteer your services, which would help them, and give you more exposure too, as well as a deeper understanding of the these plants.
 

nickthetasmaniac

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ok, you might want to look around at local univ.s to see if someone is studying orchids there - or a conservation group. You could volunteer your services, which would help them, and give you more exposure too, as well as a deeper understanding of the these plants.
Thanks for the suggestions :)

I actually work as a ranger for Parks and Wildlife, and have quite a lot of contact with several local ecologist/botanist/orchid nuts. We're currently doing monitoring work for a few endangered species found in national park where I'm based, and hoping to have a paper published sometime soon.

I'm also hoping to volunteer for BioBlitz up in the Tarkine later this year, which is an phenomenal area for orchids :)
 

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