Western Australia produces a lovely array of orchids and so it is not surprising to find in NOSSA photograph competitions that when a Western Australian species is entered it can often be the winner. This month was no different with Pauline Myers beautiful picture of a mass of Diuris hazeliae which was kindly identified by Andrew Brown.
This species has only recently been named in 2013 and as a result finding information was a challenge. Obviously there was no information in Jones Native Orchids of Australia (2006); and surprisingly the definitive Field guide to the Orchids of Western Australia (2013) A Brown et al did not appear to have any information.
- the Western Australian Herbarium’s FloraBase (Western Australian Flora), has a map of distribution which is roughly a diagonal line from east of Geraldton to the north of Esperance. It is not listed as threatened.
- the Western Australian Herbarium lists the species as one of 59 new taxa added to their plant census in 2014.
- from the Atlas of Living Australia it can be deduced that the flowering time is mainly August and September and is likely to be found in various types of shrublands margins including Eucalypt and mallee woodlands and appears to be mainly associated with rocky or granite outcrops.
- and the National Species List APNI/APC yields the information that it was named after Hazel King, plant collector and conservationist with a special interest in orchids and was previously known by the phrase name Diuris ‘northern granite’ with a common name of Rosy-cheeked Donkey Orchid. It was found in a granite outcrop on her property Tampu (north of Beacon).
Fortunately Andrew Brown was able to help with extra information. It is listed in his book (page 212) but under the phrase name Diuris sp. Eastern Wheatbelt (Yellow Granite Donkey Orchid). Diuris sp. Northern Granite was found to be the same species and so the use of that name was discontinued but it does remain a synonym for Diuris hazeliae.
The following description is information updated from his book “Field Guide to the Orchids of Western Australia”
Diuris hazeliae D.L. Jones & C.J. French (yellow granite donkey orchid)
Flowering: August to September.
A common, inland donkey orchid 100 to 300 mm high with two to three basal leaves 50 to 150 mm long by 5 to 10 mm wide and up to seven predominantly yellow, brown marked flowers 20 to 40 mm across. Flowers are characterised by their broad petals, very broad dorsal sepal, narrow, reflexed, usually crossed lateral sepals and tri-lobed labellum with broad, spreading lateral lobes and a broad, flattened to convex mid lobe.
Distribution and habitat:
Found between Mullewa, Salmon Gums and Balladonia, growing in shallow soil pockets on granite outcrops and along drainage lines below rocky breakaways.
Named in 2013 from specimens collected at Tampu, north of Beacon in September 1997. The species often forms very large colonies on granite outcrops.
Inland granite and breakaway habitat.
Very broad dorsal sepal.
Diuris hazeliae is part of the Diuris corymbosa complex of which, in 2013, there were only 10 of the 26 Western Australian species formally named. This situation has now changed with 14 now formally named. As a final word, Diuris orientis is South Australia’s only member of this complex.
More images of this species can be seen on Retired Aussies website http://www.retiredaussies.com/ColinsHome%20Page/OrchidsWA/Diuris/Diuris%20sp%20northen%20granite/Diuris%20sp%20northern%20granite.htm
References – All websites accessed on 29th May 2015-06-04
Jones, Native Orchids of Australia and its Territories (2006)
Brown, Field Guide to the Orchids of Western Australia (2013)