Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Cryptostylis hunteriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lb) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Leafless Tongue-orchid profile (NSW Department of Environment & Climate Change (DECC), 2005a) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Vulnerable (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): August 2014 list)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Cryptostylis hunteriana [19533]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Nicholls
Infraspecies author  
Reference The Victorian Naturalist 54 (10 Mar. 1938) 182, t. XVIII.
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Cryptostylis hunteriana

Common name: Leafless Tongue-orchid

Other common name: Furred Tongue-orchid

Cryptostylis hunteriana is conventionally accepted (CHAH 2011).

The Leafless Tongue-orchid is a small perennial terrestrial orchid that lacks leaves and receives its nourishment from dead organic matter (saprophytic) in partnership with a mycorrhizal fungus (Bishop 1996; Brown 2007; Harden 1993; Jones 2006). The flowering stem is yellow in colour, 10–45 cm long and has 5–10 flowers (Bishop 1996; Harden 1993; Jones 2006). The flowers are approximately 2.5–3.5 cm long, with 2.2 cm long linear reflexed sepals and petals (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bishop 1996; DECC 2005a).

Flowers in the Cryptostylis genus have a large flamboyant labellum (a distinctive median petal in orchids) shaped like a tongue, slipper or bonnet (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995). The labellum of the Leafless Tongue-orchid is erect, dark red, with a hairy upper surface and a wide central black band that becomes four black lines (Bishop 1996; Harden 1993; Jones 2006; Riley & Banks 2002). Most of the labellum's upper surface is covered with dense glandular hairs (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bishop 1996).

The distribution of the Leafless Tongue-orchid extends from Orbost in East Gippsland in Victoria through coastal NSW and up in to the Tin Can Bay area of southern Queensland (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bishop 1996; Brown 2007; Harden 1993; Jones 2006; Logan 1998).

In NSW, the Leafless Tongue-orchid occurs between Batemans Bay and Nowra with additional records in Nelson Bay, Wyee, Washpool National Park, Nowendoc State Forest, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, Ben Boyd National Park (DECC 2005a), the Catherine Hill Bay area, Dolphin Point (Cowman Stoddart 2007; HSO 2007a, 2007b) and Bulahdelah (Brown 2007). The species occurs in several Catchment Management Authority regions and subregions, including (DECC 2005a):

Catchment Management Authority
Subregion Known or predicted to occur
Hawkesbury/Nepean Pittwater Known
Hunter/Central Rivers    Hunter Predicted
Karuah Manning Known
Macleay Hastings Predicted
Wyong Known
Northern Rivers    Clarence Sandstones Known
Macleay Hastings Known
Northeast Forest Lands Known
Washpool Known
Southern Rivers       Bateman Known
East Gippsland Lowlands (Part C) Known
Ettrema Predicted
Illawarra Known
Jervis Known
Moss Vale Known
South East Coastal Plains Known

In Queensland, populations are located within the Morton and Wide Bay Pastoral Districts (Bostock & Holland 2007). Australia's Virtual Herbarium (CHAH 2008a) records indicate that the species has been collected from around Toowoomba, Cooloola, Maroochydore, D'agular Range and Tin Can Bay.

In Victoria, the Leafless Tongue-orchid occurs in the East Gippsland region (DAFF 2007; CHAH 2008a). Australia's Virtual Herbarium (CHAH 2008a) records indicate specimens have been collected around Cann River, Bellbird Creek, Genoa, Lake Corringle and Cape Conran.

Extent of occurrence

The extent of occurrence is 132 117 km², based on Australia's Virtual Herbarium data. The estimate is considered to be of low reliability as recent ground surveys have not occurred (CHAH 2008a).

Area of occupancy

The Leafless Tongue-orchid area of occupancy is estimated at 38 km², based on the number of 1 km² grid squares in which the species is thought to occur. The estimate is considered to be of low reliability, as recent ground surveys have not been undertaken (CHAH 2008a).

Bell (2001) suggests that a state-wide survey approach is needed in NSW due to the difficulty in detecting this species combined with the limited number of known sites. The following table notes surveys for the Leafless Tongue-orchid:

Area Notes Reference
Central Coast in NSW Survey and summary of known populations in the area. Bell (2001)
Bulahdelah in NSW Surveys of two populations associated with Bulahdelah Bypass. Repeated targeted and opportunistic surveys as part of the Environmental Impact Statement process. Brown (2007), EcoPro (2004)
Between Nowra and Nerriga in NSW Surveys during highway upgrade did not find the species. RTA (2002)
Gwandalan and Catherine Hill Bay area in NSW The species was recorded during targeted surveys. Cowman Stoddart (2007), DOP (2006), HSO (2007a, 2007b).
Boole Poole Peninsula and Long Island at Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland in Victoria Surveys associated with the Lakes Entrance Sand Management Program. No plants found, but the species may be present within 5 km of the areas survey. Quin and colleagues (2007)

The Leafless Tongue-orchid is considered rare (Bishop 1996; Riley & Banks 2002). The bulk of known populations occur in NSW, however, the total population size is unknown (Brown 2007). Populations are highly localised, and plants are often found singly or as small colonies (Jones 2006).

In NSW, one population north of Bulahdelah is estimated to have over 100 plants and the second, which is east of the town, has an unknown number of individuals but is described as the "largest known population in Australia" (Brown 2007). The largest population that Bell (2001) surveyed was 50 individuals at Lemon Tree Passage with the majority of populations of known size being 20 individuals or less. Known populations of the Leafless Tongue-orchid in NSW recorded by Bell (2001) are:

Botanical division Location Year Population size Land tenure
North Coast   Alum Mountain 1988 Unknown Alum Mountain State Forest
Nelson Bay 1997 30–40 plants Private
Lemon Tree Passage 1997 50 plants Crown
Northern Tablelands Dandahra Crags walking trail 1993 Unknown Gilbraltar Range National Park
Central Coast       West Head 1955 Unknown Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Charmhaven 1979 30 plants Private
Charmhaven 1990 2 plants Private
Chain Valley Bay 1996 1 plant Crown
Vales Point-Wyee 1997 3 plants Private
Freeman's Waterhole 1998 15 plants Awaba State Forest
Wyee 1999 1 plant Crown
South Coast    Pigeon House Mountain Area 1967 Unknown Croobyar State Forest
Stokes Island, near Lake Burril 1970 Unknown Unknown
Pigeon House Mountain Area 1996 20 plants Croobyar State Forest
Manyana-Bendalong area 1996 20 plants unknown

In Victoria, Backhouse and Jeanes (1995) speculate that the entire Victorian population is only several hundred plants. Thirty records have been made in East Gippsland over an area of 113 km², 65% of which were in reserves (DAFF 2007).

There is no information available for population sizes in Queensland. Australia's Virtual Herbarium (CHAH 2008a) records, collected by Brisbane Herbarium and the Australian National Herbarium, indicate populations occur around Toowoomba, Cooloola, Maroochydore, D'agular Range and Tin Can Bay.

Population trend

It is difficult to determine population trends for the Leafless Tongue-orchid, due to natural fluctuations in numbers (Clements 2008 pers. comm.). Historical accounts indicate that populations in East Gippsland may have been larger and/or more numerous with Nicholls (1938) quoting Mr. A. Wakefield Jnr "wherever we looked we found the new orchid in the country off the old Bemm Road from Cape Conrad to Orbost".

In addition, this species does not flower every season and it is sometimes difficult to find known populations even when considerable search effort is applied (Bell 2001). Clements (2008 pers. comm.) indicated that population numbers fluctuated widely at Bulahdelah, with the 2007 survey yielding half the counts of the previous survey.

In NSW, there are Leafless Tongue-orchid populations of unknown size in Washpool, Gibraltar Range, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Ben Boyd, Meroo, Morton, Murramarang, Jervis Bay, Lake Conjola and Red Rocks (Yuraygir) National Parks as well as Cambewarra Range and Triplarina Nature Reserves (Bell 2001; Brown 2007).

In Victoria, the Leafless Tongue-orchid is known in Croajingalong National Park and the Cape Conrad Coastal Park (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Brown 2007; Victorian NPS 2005).

The species is not known to occur in reserves in Queensland.

The Leafless Tongue-orchid has been reported to occur in a wide variety of habitats including heathlands, heathy woodlands, sedgelands, Xanthorrheoa spp. plains, dry sclerophyll forests (shrub/grass sub-formation and shrubby sub-formation), forested wetlands, freshwater wetlands, grasslands, grassy woodlands, rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests (grassy sub-formation) (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bell 2001; DECC 2005a; Jones 2006; Riley & Banks 2002). Soils are generally considered to be moist and sandy, however, this species is also known to grow in dry or peaty soils (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bell 2001; Brown 2007; Jones 2006; Riley & Banks 2002).

In 2012, it was reported that 108 known Leafless Tongue-orchid sites had had a full floristic survey within a 0.4 ha (20 x 20 m) quadrat (De Lacey et al. 2012). Existing authoritative texts state that the species occurs in wet heath on sandy soils in coastal districts (De Lacey et al. 2012). This research found that the species occurs in a much wider range of habitats than previously known (De Lacey et al. 2012):

Region Plant community
NSW Northern Tablelands New England Blackbutt (Eucalyptus andrewsii) Grassy Forest and New England Blackbutt Shrubby Forest
Large-fruited Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pyrocarpa) / Strawberry Gum (Eucalyptus olida) Woodland
NSW Central Coast Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma) / Bloodwood (Corymbia spp.) / Apple (Angophora spp.) Woodland
Bloodwood / Apple / Mahogany (Eucalyptus spp.) / Peppermint (Eucalyptus spp.) Forest
Grey Gum (Eucalyptus  spp.) / Bloodwood / Stringybark (Eucalyptus spp.) Forest (Georges River)
Dwarf Apple (Angophora hispida) / Banksia (Banksia spp.) Scrub (North Sydney)
NSW South Coast Banksia / Hakea (Hakea spp.) Wet Heath
Banksia / Hakea Dry Scrub-heath
Peppermint / Bloodwood / Stringybark / Silver-top Ash (Eucalyptus sieberi) Forest
Bloodwood / Scribbly Gum / Silver-top Ash Forest
Silver-top Ash / Yertchuck (Eucalyptus consideniana) / Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) Forest
Woollybutt (Eucalyptus longifolia) / Bangalay (Eucalyptus botryoides) / Stringybark / Rough-bark Apple (Angophora floribunda) Forest (Eden)
Spotted Gum / Woollybtt / Paperbark (Melaleuca spp.) Forest
Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) / Lilly Pilly (Syzygium smithii) / Bangalay Rainforest
South East Queensland Banksia (Banksia spp.) / Mahogany (Eucalyptus spp.) Wallum Heath
East Gippsland, Victoria Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea spp.) Wet Heath
Yertchuck / Stringybark (Eucalyptus spp.) Woodland

Central Coast NSW vegetation associations

Bell (2001) looked at the populations and habitats of the Leafless Tongue-orchid on the Central Coast of NSW. Three new populations were discovered during the survey and detailed habitat information was reported (Bell 2001);

Location Habitat Canopy Understorey Ground layer Fire history
Freemans Waterhole (Awaba State Forest)

Discovered November 1998
Coastal Plains Smooth-barked Apple Woodland

Gentle sloping ridgeline with a north-east aspect

Doyalson soil landscape
8–12 m canopy

Brown Stringybark (Eucalyptus capitellata), Broad-leaved White Mahogany (E. umbra), Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera), Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata), with Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) and Woolly Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium)
Baker's Needlbush (Hakea bakeriana), Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa), Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca juncea), Wallum Heath (Epacris pulchella), Pink Spider Flower (Grevillea sericea), Leptospermum polygalifolium subsp. cismontanum, Hill Banksia (Banksia spinulosa var. collina), Smooth Geebung (Persoonia levis), Broad-leaf Drumsticks (Isopogon anemonifolius), Spiny Bossiaea (Bossiaea obcordata), B. heterophylla and Crinkle Bush (Lomatia silaifolia) Wiry Panic (Entolasia stricta), Oat Speargrass (Anisopogon avenaceus), Fish Bones (Lomandra obliqua), Goodenia stelligera, Mirbelia rubiifolia, Screw Fern (Lindsaea linearis), Jam Tarts (Melichrus procumbens), Hovea linearis, Two-colour Panic (Panicum simile), Dampiera stricta, Ptilothrix deusta, Patersonia glabrata, Pinnate Wedge-pea (Gompholobium pinnatum) and Grass-tree (Xanthorrhoea latifolia subsp. latifolia) Burnt approximately 18 months to 2 years prior to survey
Vales Point - Wyee

Discovered November 1995. Not relocated in 1999 survey
Coastal Plains Scribbly Gum Woodland

Open woodland

Gently sloping upper slope on a southerly aspect

Yellow-brown sandy soils Doyalson soil landscape
Widely spaced canopy 8 m high

Scribbly Gum, Red Bloodwood, Brown Stringybark and Charmhaven Apple (Angophora inopina)

Leptospermum trinervium, Dwarf Banksia (Banksia oblongifolia), Hakea laevipes, Leucopogon esquamatus, Pultenaea sp.H, Marrow-leaf Platysace (Platysace linearifolia), Heath Milkwort (Comesperma ericinum), Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa), Wallum Heath, Conesticks (Petrophile pulchella), Smooth Geebung, Broad-leaf Drumsticks, Dillwynia retorta, Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis) and Leucopogon microphyllus

Lesser Flannel-flower (Actinotus minor), Grass-tree, Hibbertia vestita, Sword Sedge (Lepidosperma laterale), Dampiera stricta, Poranthera ericifolia, Screw Fern, Stackhousia nuda, Patersonia glabrata, Ptilothrix deusta, Oat Speargrass, Pinnate Wedge-pea, Tricoryne simplex, Jam Tarts and Three-awn Spear-grass (Aristida vagans) Burnt approximately 3–5 years prior to survey
Wyee (Wyee Road)

Discovered November 1999
Open woodland

Gentle undulating crest

Gorokan soil landscape
Canopy 6–8 m

Scribbly Gum, Red Bloodwood, Red Honeysuckle (Banksia serrata) and Charmhaven Apple
Broad-leaf Drumsticks (Isopogon anemonifolius), Dwarf Banksia, Hakea laevipes, Mountain Devil, Leptospermum trinervium,Wallum Heath, Pink Spider Flower (Grevillea sericea), Smooth Geebung, Sweet Wattle (Acacia suaveolens), Granny's Bonnet (Pimelea linifolia subsp. linifolia), Heath Milkwort (Comesperma ericinum), Conesticks, Black Sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis) and Dagger Hakea (Hakea teretifolia) Fish Bones, Lesser Flannel-flower (Actinotus minor), Three-awn Spear-grass (Aristida vagans), A. warburgii, Screw Fern, Jam Tarts, Purple Flag (Patersonia sericea), Pultenaea sp. H, Two-colour Panic, Grass-tree, Hibbertia vestita, Grass Triggerplant (Stylidium graminifolium) and Mirbelia rubiifolia Burnt approximately 2–4 years prior to survey
General Central Coast populations Coastal Plains Scribbly Gum Woodland Open woodlands and open forests Scribbly Gum, Red Bloodwood, Brown Stringybark, Charmhaven Apple and Smooth-barked Apple Shrubby or heathy understory    

Bulahdelah NSW vegetation associations

Brown (2007) reported that, around Bulahdelah (NSW), the Leafless Tongue-orchid was found in Swampy Mahogany/Stringybark Swamp Forest; Blackbutt/Sydney Peppermint/Swamp Mahogany Dry Forest; Blackbutt/Sydney Peppermint Dry Forests and Smooth-barked Apple/Bloodwood/Sydney Peppermint Dry Forests. Individuals were often found on the tops of elevated banks of small drainage gullies with colluvium soil (Brown 2007). Topsoil was found to be less than 25 cm thick and slightly acidic sandy loams to sandy clays (Brown 2007). Plants on the eastern side of Buladelah were 30–53 m above sea level (asl) in elevation and 55–77 m asl to the north of Buladelah (Brown 2007).

South Coast NSW vegetation associations

In the Shoalhaven Local Government Area, Clark and colleagues (2004) identified 76% of the Leafless Tongue-orchid occurrences were on Wandrawandia Formation, Conjola Formation and Undifferentiated Sediments geological units. The remaining 24% were on Berry and Hawkesbury Sandstone Formations, Ordovician Sediments and Quaternary Sands (Clark et al. 2004). Clark and colleagues (2004) also assessed vegetation type preferences within this study area. They found 84% of Leafless Tongue-orchid occurrences were in three main vegetation types including Lowland Dry Shrub Forest, Northern Coastal Hinterland Heath Shrub Dry Forest and Northern Coastal Tall Wet Heath. The remaining 16% were found in Jervis Bay lowland Shrub/Grass Dry Forest, Coastal Sands Shrub/Fern Forest and Northern Foothills Moist Shrub Forest (Clark et al. 2004). The following table presents vegetation information from the NSW South Coast (Clark et al. 2004):

Habitat Description Canopy Understorey Ground layer
Lowland Dry Shrub Forest A forest of medium height with dry shrub layer and a grass/herb ground cover Red Bloodwood, White Stringybark (Eucalyptus globoidea), Yertchuck (E. consideniana), Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita) and Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) Narrow-leaved Geebung (Persoonia linearis), Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa), Acacia obtusifolia, Black-eyed Susan (Tetratheca thymifolia), Lance Beard-heath (Leucopogon lanceolatus), Holly Lomatia (Lomatia ilicifolia), Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis), Shrubby Platysace (Platysace lanceolata), Spiny Bossiaea (Bossiaea obcordata) and Giant Wedge-pea (Gompholobium latifolium) Entolasia stricta, Patersonia glabrata, Dianella caerulea var. caerulea, Gonocarpus teucrioides
Northern Coastal Hinterland Heath Shrub Dry Forest A medium to low forest with a moderately dense sandstone typical heathy shrub layer Hard-leaved Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus sclerophylla) and Red Bloodwood Marsh Banksia (Banksia paludosa), Hairpin Banksia, Mountain Devil (Lambertia formosa), Finger Hakea (Hakea dactyloides) and Woolly Tea-tree
Lepyrodia scariosa, Entolasia stricta
Northern Coastal Tall Wet Heath A wet sedge shrubland around 3 m high with the ground cover characterized by sedges and herbs Dagger Hakea (Hakea teretiflolia), Sheoak (Allocasuarina distyla), Woolly Tea-tree (Leptospermum trinervium) and L. squarrosum Pink Swamp-heath (Sprengelia incarnata), Marsh Banksia, Showy Parrot Pea (Dillwynia floribunda), Wiry Bauera (Bauera rubioides), Epacris obtusifolia, E. microphylla subsp. microphylla, Darwinia leptantha and Xanthorrhoea resinifera Lepidosperma filiforme, Restio fastigiatus, Actinotus minor

Estimates for time taken for a Leafless Tongue-orchid seed to germinate and flower could be from two and a half years to a more probable three or four and a half years based on existing knowledge of orchid reproduction (Clements 2008 pers. comm.). Attempts to propagate the species have been unsuccessful (Clements 2008 pers. comm.).

The flowering period for the Leafless Tongue-orchid is generally from August to February with flowering taking place earlier in Queensland than in NSW and Victoria (Jones 2006; Riley & Banks 2002). Flowering intensity may be stimulated by previous fire events, however, fire during the flowering season has been identified as a potential threat to the species (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bell 2001; Brown 2007).

Pollination is via pseudocopulation by the male Ichneumon Wasp (Lissopimpla excelsa) (Brown 2007; Riley & Banks 2002; Schiestl et al. 2004). Pseudocopulation through sexual deception is achieved by mimicking the sex pheromones of the pollinator species. In Australia all Cryptostylis species are believed to share the same pollinator species (Schiestl et al. 2004). Leafless Tongue-orchid is spread either by wind transportation of seed or by seeds being dropped in the immediate vicinity once the flower head has fallen over (Brown 2007; Clements 2008 pers. comm.). The species has previously been associated with potential vegetative reproduction through tuber division (Coleman 1939; DECC 2005a). However, Bell (2001) suggests that the likelihood of the species spreading by vegetative reproduction is low due to its poorly developed root system.

The Leafless Tongue Orchid is especially difficult to detect due to its leafless habit. Survey is only possible during flowering as it is only possible to detect the Leafless Tongue-orchid when it is in flower (Bell 2001; Clark et al. 2004). The following table presents suggested flowering times for the Leafless Tongue-orchid across its range:

State/Area Flowering times Ideal survey time Reference
Australia Wide August to February   Jones (2006)
Queensland August   Logan (1998)
Northern NSW September to January November EcoPro (2011)
NSW December to February   Harden (1993)
Victoria and NSW December to February   Bell (2001), Bishop (1996)
Victoria December to February   Walsh and Entwisle (1994)
Victoria January to February   Backhouse and Jeanes (1995)

There are two species of Cryptostylis that are similar in appearance to the Leafless Tongue-orchid; the Large Tongue-orchid (Cryptostylis subulata) and the Small Tongue-orchid (Cryptostylis leptochila) (Bishop 1996). The Large Tongue-orchid has a downwards pointing labellum, as opposed to the upwards labellum of the Leafless Tongue-orchid, as well as a callus near the tip of the labellum (Bishop 1996), while the Small Tongue-orchid has leaves present and a strongly curved labellum (Bishop 1996). In addition, the distribution of the Bonnet Orchid (Cryptostylis erecta) overlaps with the Leafless Tongue-orchid, however, the two species differ significantly in appearance as the labellum of the Bonnet Orchid flares into a forward pointing, slightly incurved hood in contrast to the tongue shape of the Leafless Tongue-orchid (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995).


Development along the Central Coast of NSW is occurring alongside populations of the Leafless Tongue-orchid (Bell 2001; Brown 2007; Clark et al. 2004). Small population sizes mean that small scale clearing may result in localised extinction (Clements 2008 pers. comm.). Roadwork projects can either directly affect known Leafless Tongue-orchids, or indirectly impact suitable habitat for example, through increased edge effects (Brown 2007; EcoPro 2004; Graham-Higgs 2005; RTA 2002). Clark and colleagues (2004) discuss the risks associated with the lack of knowledge about preferred habitat especially in areas undergoing rapid development.

Weeds - Bitou Bush

Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) has been identified as a threat to the Leafless Tongue-orchid in the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority Region (DECC 2005d). Sites of concern include Beecroft Peninsula (Jervis Bay), Callala Bay, Beach Haven, Alamin, Farnham Headland (Conjola National Park) and Inyadda Beach priority sites (DECC 2005d). Bitou Bush was originally planted to stabilise sand dunes but has spread outside the desired localities, ranging over an estimated 900 km² of the NSW coast (DECC 2005d).

Changes in soil moisture

The Leafless Tongue-orchid appears to be susceptible to slight changes in soil moisture content (Brown 2007). Flowers at the Bulahdelah site sometimes wilt prior to setting seed in both dry and wet years (Brown 2007).


Fire has been suggested as both a threat and a stimulus for flowering events (Backhouse & Jeanes 1995; Bell 2001; Brown 2007).

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) (DECC 2005a) suggests that cooperative development guidelines for survey assessment should be created by local governments with the NSW Government for developers and consultants. Other management actions could also include monitoring of populations to establish appropriate fire management strategies and alerting road maintenance teams to locations where the species is present (DECC 2005a).

The OEH (DECC 2005b) identifies four priority actions including; habitat management (site protection, fencing, signage); habitat protection; monitoring and; survey mapping/habitat assessment. Habitat management is considered a high priority, especially for populations that had more than 20 individuals in any one year (DECC 2005b). Habitat protection is considered to be of medium priority and involves the creation of plans of management for development sites where plants have been retained (DECC 2005b). Medium priority was assigned to the long term monitoring of key populations that had at least 20 individuals in any one year (DECC 2005b). Medium priority was also assigned to survey mapping of known population and identification of sites which are considered to have more than 20 individuals (DECC 2005b).

The implementation of Bitou Bush control has been given a high priority at the Beecroft Peninsula (Jervis Bay), Callala Bay, Beach Haven, Alamin, Farnham Headland (Conjola National Park) and Inyadda Beach priority sites in the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority Region (DECC 2005c).

Major studies on this species include Bell (2001) which investigated populations on the Central Coast of NSW, and work undertaken for the Bulahdelah Bypass (Clements 2008 pers. comm.). Clark and colleagues (2004) have also undertaken preferred habitat studies in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area.

Management documents relevant to the Leafless Tongue-orchid are at the start of the profile.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Gathering Terrestrial Plants:Illegal collection Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Cryptostylis hunteriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lb) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bitou Bush, Boneseed) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Cryptostylis hunteriana (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008lb) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010p) [State Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes in hydrology including habitat drainage Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].
Pollution:Pollution:Habitat degradation and loss of water quality due to salinity, siltaton, nutrification and/or pollution Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006fs) [Internet].

Backhouse, G.N. & J.A. Jeanes (1995). The Orchids of Victoria. Carlton: Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Press.

Bell, A.J. (2001). Notes on population size and habitat of the vulnerable Cryptostylis hunteriana (Orchidaceae) from the Central Coast of New South Wales. Cunninghamia. 7(2):195-203.

Bishop, A. (1996). Field Guide to Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria. Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press.

Bostock, P.D. & A.E. Holland (2007). Census of the Queensland Flora 2007. Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

Brown, K. (2007). Upgrade of the Pacific Highway at Bulahdelah Orchid Management and Translocation Plan, Part A - Discussion Paper. Unpublished report prepared for the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Cryptostylis hunteriana in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:51:08 +1000.