Crimson Spider Orchid
The crimson spider orchid (Caladenia concolor), which is an endangered plant in NSW, boasts deep purplish-red flowers that are said to smell like a hot motor when they bloom in September.
Habitat – Where can we find the crimson spider orchid?
There are thought to be just four crimson spider orchid populations in NSW – a few hundred plants on a private property near Bethungra, in southern NSW, about 100 plants in the Burrinjuck Nature Reserve, and two other communities in the Nail Can Hill Crown Reserve, near Albury, and on a small parcel of Crown land north-west of Wagga Wagga. The crimson spider orchid is generally found in regrowth woodland on granite ridge country that has retained a diversity of plant species, including other orchids.
This crimson spider orchid is deciduous and after flowering in spring survives the dry summer and early autumn as a dormant tuber. Flowering does not occur every year.
Threats to the crimson spider orchid
These orchids are likely to suffer damage during track maintenance and when vehicles leave established tracks. While fire may have a positive influence on seedling germination and establishment, inappropriate fire regimes are considered a threat to the crimson spider orchid. Serious weed infestations (Briza spp. in particular) may also impact on the orchid.
Solutions – What can be done?
Annual hand weeding will increase the crimson spider orchid’s chances and sites of potential habitat should be marked on maps to guide future land management. Private land owners who suspect they have the crimson spider orchid on their property should seek co-operation from management authorities to minimise threats to the plant.
The Nature Conservation Trust’s work in private land conservation is helping to protect the habitat of the crimson spider orchid.