AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Gastrodia sesamoides R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 33 (1810).
Description:
Leaves absent, stem slender to moderately robust, sometimes to 1 m high, pale to dark brown, arising from an underground rhizome. Flowers few to numerous, brown and white, to 2 cm long, tubular. Flowers have a sweet spicy fragrance resembling cinnamon.
Habitat
Saprophytic, favouring wet sclerophyll forests, dry sclerophyll forests, dry sclerophyll woodlands and riparian areas. Usually occurs in shady, well forested places in high rainfall areas (>800 mm per year), chiefly near decaying tree stumps, especially along creeks where large clumps of plants may appear in good seasons. Also recorded in pine plantations, coastal sand-hills and heath-land.
Biology and Ecology:
Flowers from October to early December. Flowering is promoted by summer fires. Self-pollinating. Also pollinated by native bees. Solitary or forming small groups in humus rich soil; often in deep leaf litter along creeks. Cover or abundance likely to be reduced by inappropriately timed fires or may die out through fire exclusion.
Distribution:
S. & E. Australia