Australian Orchid Foundation


Project: 262/2008

Title: Partnership for the Conservation of Tasmania ‘s threatened orchid flora: Understanding the symbioses between seed and mycorrhizal fungus for long term storage and effective propagation.
Applicant: Matthew Larcombe
Institute: Department of Primary Industries and Water, Hobart, Tasmania


This project aims to establish an ex situ orchid seed and mycorrhizal fungi collection at the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre for the long term conservation and propagation of Tasmania ‘s threatened orchid flora. We are also investigating the specificity and molecular diversity of the mycorrhizal partners of Tasmanian orchids with the assistance of the Kings Park and Botanic Garden orchid research group. The collaboration between Tasmania ‘s Department of Primary Industries and Water, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Millennium Seed Bank Project and Kings Park and Botanic Garden will assist in expanding our collective understanding of orchid-fungal specificity and diversity. This knowledge is essential in understanding and managing the natural distributions of rare and common orchid species.

We aim to collect and store seed and fungi from at least 18 critically threatened Tasmanian orchids and as many non-threatened endemic Tasmanian orchids as possible. Seedlings generated from symbiotic germination experiments will be used in a propagation program to establish an ex situ living collection of Tasmania ‘s threatened orchid taxa. To ensure the long-term success of the ex situ program and promote public awareness of the plight of threatened orchids, the project will actively train and educate community groups with a special interest in orchid conservation, the long-term aim being that these groups become actively involved in the project.

The project is jointly funded by the cross regional Tasmanian NRM program ( Implement Threatened Species Recovery Plans ) and the Millennium Seed Bank Project.