Plumed midge-orchid Facts
- First of all, Plumed midge-orchid serves as the highly distinctive common name for a truly remarkable variety of orchid. It also goes by the difficult to pronounce scientific name of the Geneplesium plumosum. This decidedly different looking orchid remains quite difficult to find, and thus rarely seen.
- Furthermore, 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.
- Quite 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 certain measure of protection.
- Finally, researchers estimate the total number of individuals of the Plumed midge-orchid still extant at no more than a few hundred. Because of this unfortunate fact, the IUCN understandably lists the species as Endangered. In addition to other factors, it now face the threat of climate change.
Plumed midge-orchid Physical Description
Firstly, the truly gorgeous Plumed midge-orchid evolved as a somewhat unique variety of terrestrial perennial. Further, the amazing species also evolved both fine roots and tubers. Additionally, the tubers it develops 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. However, the species does produce multiple short stems. In addition, each of these contains from 1-6 tiny flowers. Also, the color pattern generally consists of green, with stripes of pink and purple.
Additionally, the relatively small leaves of the distinctive Plumed midge-orchid end directly below the flowers themselves. Also uniquely, the delicate petals themselves have a covering of very fine hairs. Finally, though tiny, the non-fleshy fruit it produces forms as a capsule that 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
Perhaps most notably, the sincerely awesome Plumed midge-orchid, has a tiny habitat range. Quite sadly, excepting a few scattered plants in a National Park, the majority of this range consists of an area covering only 8 sq mi (20 sq km). This occupies a remote section of New South Wales, in Australia.
Further, in that incredibly tiny region, its habitat remains restricted to only the area known as the Southern Tablelands. As a result, it mostly lives amid sections of low shrubs, within the confines of a forest. Yet the beautiful and versatile Angiosperm occasionally inhabits areas such as moss gardens, as well.
The marvelous flower also has an unusually adaptable blooming cycle. That’s because the species typically blooms 4-6 weeks after a period of rain. However, this will occur in either the summer or the autumn seasons. This represents yet another way in which it distinguishes itself from other orchids.
Quite unfortunately, a current count of the population of the Plumed midge-orchid does not exist. But, in 2008, only an estimated 250-280 plants existed. One reason for its steep decline appears to be the clearing of land. Secondly, however, another reason seems to be overgrazing by an introduced species of rabbit.