In South Australia it is considered endemic and endangered. Researching it was interesting. For instance, there is no mention of it in Jones extensive book (2006) yet it was named by R S Rogers in 1918 with a description appearing in Black’s Flora of South Australia (1922 edition), including a drawing by Rosa Fiveash. Between then and now there was a shift. In the Third edition of Black’s (1978) C. cupreus is absent but C. campestris present. In Bates and Weber 1990 the authors describe C. campetris (C. cupreus). Currently, the eflora of South Australia (the electronic version of 1986 Flora of South Australia) considers it a synonym of C. campestris. This is reflected in the Census.
It would appear that as C. campestris was studied and its variations documented (e.g. article by Jones 1976 Orchadian 5:83) the distinction with C. cupreus was lost. Clements and Jones (2006) state “Calochilus cupreus R.S.Rogers = Calochilus campestris” which means that they are not using C. cupreus. But in Jones’ book an anomaly occurs – he does not include South Australia in the distribution of C. campestris and as result Bates, from 2008, states that it is not recognized as occurring in South Australia.
Though C. cupreus disappeared from the literature the name still continued to be discussed amongst orchid enthusiasts. So when in 1995 NOSSA members found a distinctively different colony at Aldinga they identified it as Rogers’ C. cupreus.
Below is a chart, based upon Dr Rogers’ description, of some of the differences that made him consider C. cupreus a separate species:
|C. cupreus||C. campestris||C. robertsonii|
|Shorter leafRather rigid or fleshy erect triangular section||
|Longer leaf Crescentic section|
|Base of labellum oblong glabrous (without hairs) with several raised longitudinal line||Base of labellum round thickened, smooth no raised longitudinal lines||Whole of labellum hirsute (hairy)|
|8 – 15 flowers||About 8 flowers maximum||About 8 flowers maximum|
It will be interesting to watch what happens.
Bates personal communications
Bates & Weber (1990) Orchids of South Australia
Bates (2011) NOSSA South Australia’s Native Orchids
Bates (2005 to present) Orchids of South Australia CDs various editions
Clements and Jones An Australian Orchid Name Index (27/4/2006)
Jones (2006) A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia
NOSSA Journal Vol 25 No 10 November 2001
Rogers R S Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia V42 (1918) Pages 24, 25