orchid species alan stephenson
Alan W Stephenson's  Orchid Species of Shoalhaven, NSW Australia

A book about Australian orchids, habitat,  and conservation

Available from:
[email protected]

Click on pictues for larger pictures of Corunastylis nudiscapa insitu

C nudiscapa

C nudiscapa

C nudiscapa

C nudiscapa

Orchid Habitat Preservation

Corunastylis nudiscapa   photos and text by Alan W Stephenson

Corunastylis nudiscapa
Corunastylis nudiscapa insitu

Corunastylis 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 confused.

C. nudiscapa, 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.
Prasophyllum nudiscapum; J. D. Hooker 1840, Native Orchids of Australia Jones D. L. 1988 (nudiscapum - with naked stem)
Genoplesium nudiscapum; D. L. Jones & M. A. Clements; The Orchids of Tasmania  1999,  Jones D.L., Wapstra H., Tonelli P.,  Harris S.
Corunastylis nudiscapa; 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. (Drosophilids)
The name Genoplesium was coined by Robert Brown in 1810 and refers to the close relationship these orchids have with the genus Prasophyllum “(Greek, genos, race or kind, plesios, affinity)” however the new name Corunastylis, was bestowed by Fitzgerald.

Alan W Stephenson
National Conservation Officer
Australasian Native Orchid Society

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