|Tallong Midge Orchid - Corunastylis plumosa|
We felt that perhaps we had been too late (in those years). So this year, we decided to go to Tallong on the first weekend of February.
This plant has a very restricted distribution, being known only from these few hillsides in Tallong, these days. It was originally reported from Kurnell, in an area of coastal heathland. But Kurnell has been turned into Oil Refineries and houses.
Today the Tallong Midge Orchid is listed on the Endangered Species list of NSW as "critically endangered". It is listed as "Endangered" on the Federal Endangered Species list under the EPBC Act (under the old name, of Genoplesium plumosum).
And so it ought be.
Today, at Tallong, the weather was stinking hot, probably 35 degrees, with a hot north-westerly wind blowing. After heavy showers over the last few evenings, it was very humid. With the weather "against us", and not being able to find any Midge Orchids at all, and felt very discouraged.
|Habitat of the Tallong Midge Orchid.|
We decided to try looking in another patch of this low twiggy heath-shrubbery, across the road.
- it has a clean edge to the dorsal sepal (far left of image), not a ridge of stiff fibres.
- the labellum is heavily fringed, and is dark purple on top.
- the base colour of the plant is green, but it is heavily striped purple. It is considerably darker in overall appearance than the closely related Corunastylis sagittifera (which is primarily a yellow-green flower, with some darker elements). (Compare this image). C. plumosa is not as dark as some other species of Corunastylis.
- the lateral sepals are 'horn-shaped", as is its cousin, C. sagittifera.
- Alan measure the plant at 178mm, with the flower spike itself being about 25mm long.
|Rear of flower - Corunastylis plumosa|
This is my favourite image of this rare plant.
|Corunastylis plumosa - the Tallong Midge Orchid.|