National Recovery Plan for the Blue Babe-In-The-Cradle Orchid (Epiblema Grandiflorum var. Cyaneum ms)
Robyn Luu and Val English
Wildlife Management Program No. 181
Department of Conservation and Land Management, July 2004
- National Recovery Plan for the Blue Babe-In-The-Cradle Orchid (Epiblema Grandiflorum var. Cyaneum ms) (PDF - 143 KB)
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About the document
The first known collection of Epiblema grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms, was made in 1987 by Dr Kingsley Dixon. This single known population occurs with Epiblema grandiflorum var. grandiflorum, on a Nature Reserve near Perth. E. grandiflorum var. cyaneum ms was previously recorded from two populations but it is now thought that a population reported to occur near Walpole is not a true representative of this variety.
In 1987 and 1988 about 200 non-flowering and six flowering plants were recorded in the known population. The non-flowering specimens were identified only from leaves and a proportion of these may have been Epiblema grandiflorum var. grandiflorum. The area had been burnt both of these years, and field observations noted that the site was permanently wet. Twenty nine plants were recorded in 1990 to 1992.
In 1995/1996 a flood was recorded in the wetland at the site. This flood may have contributed to alterations in the hydrology of the area. Despite extensive searches of the swamp in subsequent years (1996, 1997 and 1998) no flowering plants were recorded.
In 1999, the Orchid Society and Study Group and a scientist from The University of Western Australia (UWA) located one flowering plant of the taxon in flower. The UWA scientist collected seed from this plant later that year. In some years, no plants have been recorded in the only known population, but plants have then been located in subsequent years. No plants were recorded in the latest monitoring period (2002), but the habitat is healthy and it is presumed that propagules still exist in the soil.
There have been numerous alterations to the hydrology in the area associated with floods, roadworks, development of land surrounding the population, and with drainage works for the general area. Negotiations with the then owner of the land on which the population occurs resulted in the area being declared a Nature Reserve in 1998 and the site is now under the care, control and management of the Conservation Commission of Western Australia, and is managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management. The previous landowner fenced the entire swamp to protect the population from accidental damage. The surrounding area has been progressively developed for housing.