Hinged Dragon Orchid (Caladenia drakeoides) Interim Recovery Plan 2003-2008

Interim recovery plan no. 141
Andrew Brown, Emma Holland and Kim Kershaw
Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, 2003


Scientific Name: Caladenia drakeoides Common Name: Hinged Dragon Orchid
Family: Orchidaceae Flowering Period: August - October
DCLM Regions: Midwest, Wheatbelt DCLM District: Moora, Merredin
Shires: Coorow, Wongan-Ballidu, Dalwallinu, Moora, Goomalling Recovery Teams: Merredin and Moora District Threatened Flora Recovery Teams (MDTFRT)

Illustrations and/or further information: Brown, A., Thomson-Dans, C. and Marchant, N. (Eds). (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Hoffman, N. & Brown, A. (1992) Orchids of South West Australia. 2nd Edition. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands; Hopper, S. D., van Leeuwen, S., Brown, A.P. & Patrick, S. J. (1990) Western Australia's Endangered Flora. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia; Patrick S. J., Brown A. P. & Rose D. (draft) Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Moora District. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Western Australia.

Current status: Caladenia drakeoides was declared as Rare Flora in September 1986 as Drakonorchis drakeoides ms (it has now been placed back in Caladenia) and ranked as Critically Endangered in November 1998. It currently meets World Conservation Union Red List Category 'CR' under criteria B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v) due to its small area of occupancy, the populations being severely fragmented and an observed decline in area of occupancy, quality of habitat, number of subpopulations and number of mature individuals. The species is currently known from nine populations in the Moora District, eight populations in the Merredin District and one population in the Katanning District. The main threats are inappropriate fire regimes, rising saline water tables, grazing, degraded habitat, weeds, poor recruitment and limited genetic diversity.

Distribution and habitat: Caladenia drakeoides is confined to seasonally moist rises above salt lakes between Coorow, Beacon and Lake King. Habitat is tall to medium shrubland dominated by Melaleuca and Acacia species over low shrubs and annuals. Soils are variable but consist mainly of grey sandy loam.

Critical habitat: The critical habitat for Caladenia drakeoides comprises the area of occupancy of known populations; similar habitat within 200 metres of known populations; corridors of remnant vegetation that link populations; additional nearby occurrences of similar habitat that are not known to contain the species but may have done so in the past and may be suitable for translocations; and local catchment areas for the surface and ground waters that provide habitat for the species.

Habitat critical to the survival of the subspecies, and important populations: Given that this species is listed as Critically Endangered it is considered that all known habitat containing wild and translocated populations is habitat critical.

Benefits to other species/ecological communities: Recovery actions implemented to improve the quality or security of the habitat of Caladenia drakeoides will also improve the status of remnant vegetation in which it is located.

International Obligations: This plan is fully consistent with the aims and recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Australia in June 1993, and will assist in implementing Australia's responsibilities under that Convention. However, as Caladenia drakeoides is not listed under any international agreement, the implementation of other international environmental responsibilities is not affected by this plan.

Role and interests of indigenous people: There are no known indigenous communities interested or involved in the management of areas affected by this plan. Therefore no role has been identified for indigenous communities in the recovery of this species.

Social and economic impacts: The implementation of this recovery plan is unlikely to cause significant adverse social and economic impacts. However, as many populations occur on private land the protection of them may potentially affect farming activities. Many of these populations have now been fenced to reduce the impact on what may have otherwise been large areas that could not have been farmed.

Evaluation of the Plan's Performance: The Department of Conservation and Land Management, in conjunction with the Recovery Team will evaluate the performance of this IRP. The plan is to be reviewed within five years.

Existing Recovery Actions: The following recovery actions have been or are currently being implemented.

  1. Populations 1, 7 and 14 and subpopulation 2b (private property) have been fenced to exclude sheep.
  2. All owners of private property populations have been notified of the presence of the species.
  3. The Moora and Merredin District Threatened Flora Recovery Teams are overseeing the implementation of recovery actions prescribed in this IRP, and are reporting annually to DCLM's Corporate Executive.
  4. Regular monitoring of populations is being undertaken by DCLM Moora and Merredin District staff.

IRP Objective: The objective of this Interim Recovery Plan is to abate identified threats and maintain and/or enhance in situ populations to ensure the long-term preservation of the taxon in the wild.

Recovery criteria
Criteria for success: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have increased by 10% or more.
Criteria for failure: The number of individuals within populations and/or the number of populations have decreased by 10% or more.

1. Coordinate recovery actions. 8. Collect and store seed.
2. Install DRF markers. 9. Develop and implement a translocation proposal.
3. Monitor populations. 10. Conduct further surveys.
4. Fencing. 11. Develop and implement a fire management strategy.
5. Goat control. 12. Obtain biological and ecological information.
6. Weed control. 13. Promote community awareness
7. Rehabilitate habitat of subpopulations 2a, 2b, 5a and population 11 14. Review the need for a full Recovery Plan