More good news has come from recent surveys of the Northern Golden Moth Orchid (Diuris protena), an orchid that was first discovered in the grasslands of Terrick Terrick National Park, north east of Nardoo Hills, in 2006. This particular orchid is endemic to the state of Victoria, being found nowhere else in the world.
In the most recent survey, 800 individual orchids over 16 populations were located at Nardoo Hills (twice the number of individuals than were found present in Autumn 2009), with several new populations being discovered. This brings the total known population of Northern Golden Moth Orchid at Wedderburn to around 1350 individuals.
The orchid’s preferred habitat is in remnant grasslands and grassy woodlands in north and north-western Victoria and is likely pollinated by a native species of bee.
The increases of individuals present (particularly in the Nardoo Hills populations) has been attributed to restoration works that are occurring in the area, including the removal of weeds and a reduction in rabbit numbers.
While this is excellent news for the orchid, this species is still considered to be threatened and needs to be protected into the future to be certain of its ongoing survival.
Article by Ben Southby
Photos by Annette Robertson