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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Trim leek orchid

Current status

[Photo of trim leek orchid by A. & H. Wapstra.]

The discovery of a healthy population of this trim leek orchid (Prasophyllum concinnum) in 1992 at Blackmans Bay, Tasmania was an exciting event for Australian orchidologists. This unobtrusive leek orchid had not been seen since 1947 and was believed to be extinct! It was listed as rare under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 but removed from the list following the 2000 review. It has gone from extinct to rare to being de-listed!

The first discovery

This orchid was first found at Blackmans Bay during the 1930s but the locality was destroyed by housing development. Then in 1992 the Parks and Wildlife Service employed a special project officer to compile an atlas of Tasmanian orchids. Orchid enthusiasts assisted by sending specimens from all over Tasmania. These were sent to Canberra for identification and inclusion in the National Herbarium.

Rediscovery!

Among them was a small collection of leek orchids by Hans and Annie Wapstra of Blackmans Bay who regularly searched the sandy heath lands in the area to see what orchids were flowering. Imagine the excitement when this collection turned out to be the long lost P. concinnum!

The Recovery Plan

Because of the importance of the species, and the severe threat to its survival (the whole area was due to be developed for housing) the Commonwealth Government funded a Recovery Plan which included a Tasmania-wide survey of likely heath lands. This yielded a further surprise.

On Bruny Island, in the Labillardiere State Reserve, lots of leek orchids were found after a bush fire. Many orchids respond to fire by flowering. They have underground tubers which are not affected by the heat allowing them to recover before any of the other vegetation. As other heath plants recover and become denser, orchids tend to disappear until the next fire.

Yet another discovery!

At first the Bruny Island leek orchids were identified as a probable new species. Further examination of the specimens as part of the Recovery Plan work established that they were P. concinnum. Later the species was found in other south-eastern swampy heaths and also on the west coast. This Recovery Plan must hold the record for the quickest success in the recovery of a threatened species!

Delisting

As a result of further surveys it was discovered that this orchid was much more common and no longer met the criteria for listing as a threatened species. In the 2000 review it was removed from the threatened species list.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading

Ziegler D. 1994. P. concinnum Flora Recovery Plan. Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania.