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Conservation of the endangered terrestrial orchid Microtis angusii

Start date:
01 Jan 2013
End date:
31 Dec 2016
Zoe-Joy Newby, Karen Sommerville, Edward Liew
Project sponsors:
The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, NSW Roads and Maritime Services

Project aims

  • Obtain mycorrhizal fungi capable of germinating seeds of M. angusii
  • Identify suitable methods for the storage of seeds and mycorrhizal fungi
  • Determine the distribution of the population and genetic diversity
  • Assess the rate at which seeds are produced and determine the mode of reproduction
  • Attempt seedling translocation

Project Summary

Conservation of endangered plant species may utilize either in situ or ex situ methods. Successful conservation of orchids is particularly challenging as their growth and survival depend on specific fungi (mycorrhizae), and therefore the fungal associates must also be conserved. Mycorrhizal fungi of M. angusii were isolated and used to germinate seeds from a variety of locations. Seeds were germination tested after being placed in different storage conditions (with or without fungi), while separate storage for the fungal associates were also tested. Other investigations include insect involvement in pollination of flowers, quality and quantity of seed production, and distribution and genetic diversity of the M. angusii population. 

Research Update

We have recently transplanted a number of seedlings, germinated and grown at the Australian Botanic Garden, into three locations north of Sydney and are tracking their progress. 

Find out more about our research into terrestrial orchids and their fungal symbionts at the Australian PlantBank.