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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Terrestrial Orchids of SW Australia: Plant of the Month

Terrestrial Orchids of SW Australia: Plant of the Month

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, July 25, 2017/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, photography, sustainability, art and design, environment, plants

           Map of Botanical Reserves & Hotspots, Southwestern Australia (credit: the Conversation)

The southwestern corner of Australia is a 'treasure chest' of endemic plants---nearly 45%---found no where else in Australia or the rest of the world. They represent botanical remnants from the ancient mege-continent, Gondwanaland, that began to break apart 100 million years ago to form Africa, Madagascar, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. With such a high degree of diversity and endemism, conservation and protection of these rare species is critical. Public and private efforts actively work towards this goal. The Wildflower Society of Western Australia maintains ongoing programs in plant conservation, propagation, restoration, and educational outreach.

Native orchid species of region are terrestrial (ground growing) rather than epiphytic (tree growing) and represent only one small example of this diverstiy. They can be exceptionally attractive with the flower colors that look almost 'other worldly' in appearance. Here are just two examples:


 

  Reaching Spider Orchid, Caladenia arrecta  &  Queen of Sheeba Orchid, Thelymitra speciosa, (credit: Terry Dunham)

Because of their rarity, beauty, and biogeographic history these orchids are prefect selections for Plant of the Month.

WHB

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