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Collection of seed and soil samples

Orchid seeds are extremely small and don’t have a readily available store of nutrients to start the germination process.

In natural environments, the nutrients are obtained via a mycorrhizal fungus that resides in the soil and grows into the cells of the orchid embryo.

Ex situ conservation of orchid seeds therefore also requires the conservation of their fungal partners. In order to develop collections of seed and fungi that will be useful for future restoration programs we use the following protocol:

Habitat of Diuris callitrophila, a threatened terrestrial orchid.

Tagging helps to locate orchids on subsequent visits to field sites. This is Diuris callitrophila, a terrestrial orchid species.

Hand pollination is sometimes required to ensure seed set for threatened terrestrial orchid species.

Bagging pollinated flowers minimises seed loss due to predation and dispersal. This species is Diuris platychila, a terrestrial orchid.