Plants of
South Australia
Calochilus cupreus
Orchidaceae
Copper Beard-orchid
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
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Keith
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Etymology

Calochilus from the Greek 'callos' meaning beauty and 'cheilos' meaning lip; referring to the ornamented labellum of most species. Cupreus from Latin meaning copper colour; referring to the labellum which has a coppery tint.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found only in one reserve in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing in dry coastal sands. However, there is taxonomic confusion with Calochilus campestris. Native. Very rare in South Australia.
Herbarium region: Southern Lofty
NRM region: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

A herbaceous terrestrial orchid with a thick-textured, narrow and channelled leaf up to 20 cm long. Inflorescence an erect slender spike to 40 cm long with numerous green with red stripes flowers, dorsal sepals are thin-textured, openly hooding the column, petals are wide around the column with heavy red streaking, lateral sepals are broadly triangular, labellum with a coppery tint and purple shiny smooth plate at the base, mid part with purple hairs, outer hairs becoming green, tipped purple. Flowering between September and November. Some useful taxonomic background about this Calochilus species is available on the Native Orchid Society of South Australia webpage https://nossa.org.au/tag/calochilus-cupreus/ Fruits are brown papery ellipsoid capsule.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and January. Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules. Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refigerator or in liquid nitrogen.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
25-Nov-2009M. Jusaitis
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2016N/C-80°C
25-Nov-2009M. Jusaitis
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2016N/C-80°C
BGA24,000 (0.01 g)313-Dec-2016T.Bridle 713
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2017N/C-80°C
BGA62,000 (0.025 g)213-Dec-2016T.Bridle 686
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2017N/C-80°C
BGA72,200 (0.029 g)56-Dec-2017T. Bridle
Southern Lofty
30-Jun-2018N/C-18°C
BGA40,300 (0.016 g)512-Dec-2018Aldinga CP
Southern Lofty
24-Apr-2019N/C-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.