Plants of
South Australia
Prasophyllum pallidum
Orchidaceae
Pale Leek-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
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Etymology

Prasophyllum from the Greek ‘prason’ meaning a leek and ‘phyllon’ meaning a leaf, referring to the leek-like orchid leaf. Pallidum from the Latin 'pallidus' meaning pale, referring to the very pale flowers.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found in southern Flinders Ranges and the Mount Lofty Ranges, growing on the more fertile soils of woodland and well-grassed open forests. Native. Very rare in South Australia. Vulnerable in Australia under the EPBC Act.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Terrestrial orchid with slender stem to 30 cm tall. Leaf long and lax, green at the base. Inflorescence a loose spike with many wholly pale green, sweetly fragrant flowers standing well out from the spike. Dorsal sepal ovate-lanceolate, to 6 mm long, generally erect, rarely recurved, lateral sepals rather longer, to 6.5 mm, quite free, parallel, lanceolate, usually with cylindrical 2-dentate points, petals bluntly linear, to 6.5 mm long, erect, labellum sessile, ovate-cuneate, to 5 mm long, recurved very nearly at fight angles about the middle. Flowering between September to November. Fruits are pale brown papery ellipsoid capsules along the spike. Seeds are very small orange-brown ellipsoid seed with a long cylindrical translucent brown mesh-like covering.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and December. 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, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen. For the NVC South East Orchid Project one population consisting of more than 10 individuals was recorded at Bangham Conservation Park. Approximately 145,000 seeds (0.44 g) were banked. Seed viability was 59%. Seed germination in orchids is difficult in the absence of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi. More research is needed to understand the requirements for seed germination in Prasophyllum species.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
3 spikes18-Nov-2009J. Quarmby
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2016N/C-80°C
18-Nov-2009J. Quarmby
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2016N/C-80°C
13-Nov-2009J. Quarmby
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-2016N/C-80°C
BGA94,000 (0.044 g)416-Nov-2010K. Brewer
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-201650%-80°C
BGA66,000 (0.031 g)18-Nov-2010J. Quarmby
Southern Lofty
1-Nov-201659%-80°C
BGA145,000 (0.068 g)512-Oct-2013KHB777
South Eastern
1-Nov-201672%-80°C
BGA174,000 (0.12 g)2030-Oct-2019TST1423
Southern Lofty
24-May-2020N/C-18°C
BGA793,000 (0.57 g)4230-Oct-2019TST1421
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA139,000 (0.10 g)819-Nov-2019Roesslers, Springton
Murray
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C
BGA57,000 (0.041 g)730-Oct-2019KHB1007
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C
BGA64,000 (0.046 g)719-Nov-2019Jenkin's Scrub
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C
BGA122,400 (0.088 g)2011-Nov-2019Native Avenue, Wistow
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C
BGA592,000 (0.42 g)3429-Oct-2019Scott Creek CP
Southern Lofty
24-Jun-2020N/C-18°C, -80°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.