Today I took part in a survey of an endangered population of Oligochaetochilus lepidus (Halbury Greenhood). The area had been surveyed three years previously and the first task today was to find and mark the 20 metre grid. We then went through and marked all of the plants in flower with little coloured flags. There were two other species. Oligochaetochilus pusillus (Small Rusty-hood) was smaller and had blunt reddish tips on the sepals. Oligochaetochilus aff. excelsa (Dryland Greenhood) had much larger rosettes, thicker stems and was only in early bud stage. Oligochaetochilus lepidus was almost all out in flower and had distinctive thin tips to the sepals.
After lunch I found a path of Oligochaetochilus lepidus. After marking all that I could find I thought I should count them. There were 45 in an area little more than a metre square.
After an initial search, a final search was done in each quadrat. Then all of the coloured flags were collected and counted and a figure recorded for each quadrat. I expect the results will show that there were several hundred plants in this 3 hectare area of mallee remnant vegetation.
This was an example of a citizen science project led by a botanist with ten others involved.
While there I took an interest in the other orchids: there was a population of several flowering Arachnorchis tensa (Inland Green-comb Spider-orchid) and a couple of colonies of Diplodium robustum (Large Shell-orchid) with flowers almost all finished. There was also a scattering of plants of one of the Hymenochilus muticus group; it appears to be Hymenochilus pisinnus (Tiny Shell Orchid). There were two bright pink Petalochilus carneus (Pink Fingers) that I found late in the day before driving home for an hour and a half.