Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Not quite dead

The robust greenhood (Pterostylis valida), listed as extinct under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999), has been spotted in north-central Victoria, at Nardoo Hills, 100km out of Bendigo.

Bush Heritage Australia bought the 817-hectare property at Nardoo Hills in 2005, adding it to their growing allocation of protected reserves. The non-profit organisation, started by Bob Brown in 1990 currently manages 32 such reserves across the nation, each dedicated to fostering the survival of native wildlife species and their habitats, according to a report.

The robust greenhood (not greenwood, as mentioned in the article) was last noted in 1941.

Nardoo Hills is also home to a significant population of another species of threatened orchid, the northern golden moths (Diuris protena). Jeroen Van Veen, Field Officer the reserve, hopes the robust greenhood will grow to a similar state of opulence.

Similar orchids waver under threat of habitat loss from such forces as ploughing, fertilisers and herbicides, grazing livestock and feral herbivores. Allowing the rare flower a chance to flourish is a matter of managing weeds around the population, and protecting the growth area from rabbits and wallabies.

By Pamela Kelt

Pictured: a close relation of the robust greenhood is the Pterostylis sargentii, found in the Williams Narrogin area, known as the Frog Greenhood. Photo by Harvey James. If anyone has a picture of the robust greenhood, do let me know.