#ThreatenedSpecies of the Week: Hoffman’s Spider-Orchid

Not everybody likes creepy-crawlies, but don’t let this plant’s name fool you.

Hoffman’s Spider-Orchid, or Caladenia hoffmanii is a tuberous, perennial flower, with red fringe and dark red glands and it typically flowers between August and early September.

The orchid can often grow to 30cm high, with a leaf  of up to 15cm long and 0.5 to 1cm wide. Its sepals can grow to 3cm long which terminate in condensed glandular ‘tails’ and the tapering labellum (lip) has a deep red apex which is curled at its tip.

The Hoffman’s Spide-Orchid is currently listed as Endangered under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Hoffman's Spider-Orchid
Hoffman’s Spider-Orchid

Hoffman’s Spider-orchid is endemic to WA and is known from 10 populations within the Narrogin District and the Geraldton–Kalbarri District.

In the Geraldton district, this species occurs between Geraldton and the Murchison River. Most of the recorded populations have been located on conservation estates, shire road verges and less on private property.

This species has a habitat preference for clay, sandy clay or clay loam with laterite on rocky hillsides and ridges, or in winter-wet flats.

There is also a disjunct occurrence of this species some 600 km to the south-east where it occurs in the Pingaring area, growing around large granite outcrops under tall shrubs with low heath and in woodlands. Associated species included Jam (Acacia acuminata), Large-flowered Melaleuca (Melaleuca megacephala), Pine Grevillea (Grevillea pinaster) and thryptomenes (Thryptomene spp.).

Potential threats to the Hoffman’s Spider-orchid include grazing pressure by rabbits, pigs and goats, inappropriate fire regimes and land disturbance. Management actions include pest management, population monitoring and surveying, appropriate fire management and collection and preservation of genetic material, and raising public awareness.

For more information about this plant, or if you have seen it, please contact the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Geraldton District Office on 9964 0901.

Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia

 

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