Corunastylis nudiscapa photos and text by Alan W Stephenson
nudiscapa – All is not Lost
A terrestrial orchid species thought to be extinct in Tasmania has
recently been rediscovered. Corunastylis
nudiscapa has been located on
Mt Wellington near Hobart, during a search for Land Snails by officers
of the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and
Environment (DPIWE). This species has not been recorded since the type
specimen was collected in 1840. Growing in sandy soil occurring on the
foothills of the mountain, the officers were initially unable to
identify the plant but formal identification came quickly, as C.
nudiscapa has no Tasmanian species with which it could be
like many orchid species has undergone more than one
change to its generic identity following the original discovery. All
species in the Genus Corunastylis
were previously referred to as Pygmy
Prasophyllums or Midge orchids in Section
Prasophyllum. It is a Dwarf
Midge Orchid with tightly congested inflorescence of crowded
reddish-brown to purplish, glabrous nodding flowers. Plants grow to 70
mm- 85 mm with the top 8 mm-15 mm densely crowded with up to 20
flowers. C. nudiscapa
was only known from this single location in
Tasmania and was also considered to occur in Victoria and New South
Wales. It is now accepted the NSW species is C. densa.
This re-discovery is excellent news and a psychological boost to those
who refuse to admit extinction too quickly. Now all we need to do is
get some government departments to think the same way.
The listings below are how this orchid has been recognised by
Botanists, Taxonomists and authors since its original discovery.
J. D. Hooker 1840, Native
Orchids of Australia
Jones D. L. 1988 (nudiscapum
- with naked stem)
D. L. Jones & M. A. Clements; The
Orchids of Tasmania 1999, Jones D.L.,
Tonelli P., Harris S.
Jones D. L. Native
Orchids of Australia, Jones
D. L. 2006
Type: Tasmania, Hill E. of Mount Wellington 1840, lodged at Kew
Herbarium, England. Pollination is by small vinegar flies.
The name Genoplesium
was coined by Robert Brown in 1810 and refers to
the close relationship these orchids have with the genus Prasophyllum
race or kind, plesios,
affinity)” however the new name
was bestowed by Fitzgerald.
Alan W Stephenson
National Conservation Officer
Australasian Native Orchid Society
fully functional. You do not need Google Earth