Australian Native Plants

  Rhizanthella gardneri (Underground Orchid)


Rhizanthella gardneri photo
Rhizanthella gardneri Underground Orchid.

Photograph by Jean and Fred Hort. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)




UNDERGROUND ORCHID FACTS

distribution map showing range of Rhizanthella gardneri in Australia

Map is from The Atlas of Living Australia web site, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License


Common Name
Underground Orchid

Description
The Underground Orchid is an endangered orchid from Western Australia. This strange plant grows under the ground and even flowers below the soil surface level. The plant has a fleshy tuber which produces a flower cluster about 2 cm to 3 cm across containing a mass of about a hundred tiny reddish or maroon coloured flowers. Flowering is in late autumn from May to June. It gains its nutrients from a fungus associated with roots of a woody West Australian shrub, the Broom Bush (Melaleuca uncinata) . The plant can propagate by division of the rhizome

Height
0 cm - grows under the ground

Habitat
bushland in restricted area of the central wheatbelt, where Broom Bush (Melaleuca uncinata) is found

Distribution
Rhizanthella gardneri is found in south west of Western Australia.

Classification
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Asparagales
Family:Orchidaceae
Genus:Rhizanthella
Species:gardneri
Common Name:Underground Orchid