A Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum petilum) - A endangered species

A Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum petilum) - A endangered species

A Leek Orchid

Prasophyllum petilum is a slender ground orchid that grows to 300 mm in height. It is inconspicuous among taller grasses, even when in flower. Its flowers have pink-mauve petals with greenish tinges.They are 5-7 mm across in a spike of 40-80 mm.

The species is known from only two locations-near Boorowa in NSW and in a 0.5 ha site in the cemetery at Hall, ACT where about 70 plants have been recorded. Specimens of the Hall population may only be sighted when a favourable season promotes flowering.

The ACT habitat is grassland dominated by Kangaroo Grass ( Themeda triandra ) in remnant Eucalyptus melliodora - E. blakelyi woodland. The soil is moist and relatively fertile.

Conservation Threats

The ACT P. petilum population lies within an active cemetery where ground disturbance for burials could remove a group of plants plants with potentially serious consequences for the population as a whole. Localised decline in habitat has also occurred.

The Boorowa population is considerably larger (several thousand plants over a 2 ha area) and is located in a a Travelling Stock Reserve. Management for conservation is more straightforward.

Conservation Action

Conservation action. The major conservation objective is to preserve the existing ACT population in a viable form.

This will be achieved by managing the Hall cemetery in a cooperative way so that community commitments, expectations and sensitivities are not unduly compromised, yet damage to known or potential orchid locations is minimised. Close liaison between the ACT Cemeteries Trust, Environment ACT and community interests will be necessary.

Development of a grass management regime, intensive survey to locate other plants and monitoring of the condition of the population will be the main management tools. The need for off-site propagation of the species will be investigated.

More information

A Leek Orchid Action Plan