Posted on behalf of Julie Whitfield from Amaryllis Environmental.
On the 22nd of July a small group of orchid conservationists planted the Stuart Mill Spider Orchid (Caladenia cretacea) back into the John Colahan Griffin reserve in Victoria.
It was a spectacular day for planting 32 baby orchids to complement the 12 specimens already recorded on the reserve. After rain the night before to soften the earth, the sun was shining and insects active.
The seeds and fungi used were sourced from a nearby property and taken to the Australian Native Plant Conservation (ANPC), Orchid Conservation Facility in Horsham. Here Dr Nouska Reiter used her amazing laboratory skills and commitment to endangered orchids to propagate new plants from seed.
The seedlings were put in within a fenced area for protection. Connectivity for pollinators has been lost between the source site and our reserve but these new plants should increase the genetic diversity of the small Stuart Mill spider orchid population on John Colahan Griffin.
This work will also contribute to long-term research into preferred planting methods to optimise pollination rates.
A big thank you to the team involved:
- Julie Whitfield: Amaryllis Environmental (contractor for DEPI Loddon Mallee Orchid Conservation project, funded through the Victorian Environmental Partnerships)
- Geoff Neville: retired DEPI orchid conservation project officer
- Anne Hughes: Local Field Naturalist and long-time orchid conservationist
- Susie Deason: Parks Victoria and land manager for another recipient site in the area
- Donna McMaster: DEPI South West Region
- Nikita and Tasha Whitfield: future environmental scientists/conservationists
- Joe and Chiara Perri: local landholders
- Jess Slade: friend and colleague to Joe Perri
- Dr Nouska Reiter: Orchid Conservation Facility.