Plumed midge-orchid Facts
- The descriptive term of Plumed midge-orchid serves as the most frequently used common name for this intriguing marvel of Nature. That’s certainly not its only generally used moniker, though. It’s also sometimes called the Tallong midge-orchid.
- Within scientific circles, however, it goes by a far different term. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard for the layperson to pronounce. That’s because it bears the formal name of the Geneplesium plumosum. Regardless of the term chosen, it’s a remarkable flora.
- The first formal description of the very rare flower did not take place until the year 1942. This occurred as a result of a detailed exploration of the area in which it appears. Clergyman and botanist Herman Rupp became the first to scientifically identify it.
- Unfortunately, most specimens of the remarkable plant only inhabit an extremely tiny area. However, a handful of individual plants also appear in the Morton National Park. Fortunately, this location serves to provide them with a measure of protection.
- Researchers estimate the total population of the Plumed midge-orchid to be no only a few hundred. Due to this unfortunate fact, the IUCN understandably lists the species as Endangered. In addition to other factors, it now faces the threat of climate change.
Plumed midge-orchid Physical Description
The gorgeous Plumed midge-orchid distinguishes itself from its many kin in a combination of ways. That’s partly due to the fact that it evolved as a somewhat unique variety of terrestrial perennial. But, the amazing species also evolved both fine roots and tubers.
Yet, Nature did not simply stop there with this botanical wonder. The tubers it develops also have a protective covering, and often extend all the way up to the surface. It’s also classified as a ground orchid, since the Angiosperm rarely exceeds (12 in 30 cm) in height.
The remarkable species does produce multiple short stems, however. Each of these additionally contains a quantity of flowers that ranges from 1-6. These present a dazzling array of hues. That pattern generally consists of a light green, with stripes of pink and purple.
The foliage of the Plumed midge-orchid merit appreciation by the viewer as well, though. While relatively small, the leaves of the distinctive plant end directly below the flowers themselves. Also uniquely, the delicate petals themselves have a covering of fine hairs.
Evolution further provided well for its chances of procreation. That’s true due to the nature of the seeds the Angiosperm generates. The non-fleshy fruit it produces forms as a small capsule. Despite its diminutive size, though, this contains hundreds of seeds.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Monocots
- Order: Asparagales
- Family: Orchiaceae
- Genus: Genoplesium
- Species: G. plumosum
Plumed midge-orchid Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Where this wonder of creation resides won’t surprise many people. That’s because the amazing Plumed midge-orchid evolved as native to a region of the globe renowned for its abundance of life. This species developed as native to the continent of Australia.
Even there, though, its range remains extremely restricted. Sadly, excepting a few scattered plants in a National Park, the majority of this range consists of a tiny area. This only covers a range of 8 sq mi (20 sq km). This occupies a remote section of New South Wales.
In that incredibly tiny region, its habitat remains restricted to only the area known as the Southern Tablelands. This naturally led it to develop very precise habitat requirement. As a result, it mostly lives amid sections of low shrubs, within the confines of a forest.
Yet the beautiful and versatile Angiosperm nonetheless does show at least some flexibiltiy in this respect. Due to that admittedly small versatility, it occasionally inhabits other areas. These alternate sites sometimes include such as moss gardens and parks, as well.
The flower also has an unusually adaptable blooming cycle. That’s because the species typically blooms 4-6 weeks after a period of rain. This occurs in either the summer or the autumn seasons. This represents yet another way in which it distinguishes itself from others.
Many factors appear to be hampering its chances for survival. One reason for its steep decline appears to be the clearing of land for human usage. Another reason seems to be overgrazing by an introduced species of rabbit. Conservation efforts are thankfully ongoing.