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 Endangered as Pterostylis rubenachii
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan] as Pterostylis rubenachii.
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] as Pterostylis rubenachii.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Threatened Species Listing Statement-Arthur River greenhood Pterostylis rubenachii D. L. Jones 1998 (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE), 2000l) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Pterostylis rubenachii (Arthur River Greenhood): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014bi) [State Action Plan].
TAS:Flowering Times of Tasmanian Orchids: A Practical Guide for Field Botanists (Wapstra, M., N. Roberts, H. Wapstra & A. Wapstra, 2008) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list) as Pterostylis rubenachii
Scientific name Pterostylis rubenachii [64536]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Aust. Orchid Res. 3:150 (1998).
Other names Pterostylis rubenachii D.L.Jones ms. [67423]
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: Pterostylis rubenachii

Common name: Arthur River Greenhood

A taxonomic review of Greenhoods has split Pterostylis into several new genera. The Arthur River Greenhood has been renamed Hymenochilus rubenachii, however the change is not yet widely accepted and the species is still treated as belonging to to the Pterostylis genera (Tas DIPWE 2000l).

The Arthur River Greenhood belongs to a group of orchids characterised by the dorsal sepals and petals being united to form a green, hood-like structure that dominates the flower. The labellum has the interesting property that when triggered by touch it flips inwards towards the column. This traps any insect inside the flower and any struggle to escape aids pollination. Greenhoods are also deciduous terrestrials that have fleshy tubers, which are replaced annually. The tubers hold water, which assists the species during times of drought. During the life cycle all greenhoods produce a rosette of leaves (Jones et al. 1999). The rosette of the Arthur River Greenhood encircles the base of the flower stem and has 4–6 rosette leaves (Tas DIPWE 2000l). The leaves are thick textured, fleshy, dark green, crowded, oblong elliptical to almost arrow shaped and tapered to each end. They are 15–20 mm long and 6–10 mm wide. The Arthur River Greenhood flowers in October and November. In flower the plants are 30–80 mm tall and have two to seven densely crowded green flowers with darker green veins. The hood apex curves down shallowly at first and then abruptly near the apex. The two lateral sepals hang down and are fused to form a deep puch below the labellum leaving a gap of about 1 mm at its tips. The labellum also hangs down and is thin textured, elliptical to oblong with a notched tip. The labellum also has an oblong appendage that curves back slightly with dark green, thickened edges and a narrow central ridge raised above the margins. The flowers are 8.5–9.5 mm long and 5 mm wide (Tas DIPWE 2000l).

The Arthur River Greenhood is endemic to Tasmania and to date has only been found in the Arthur River area. Important locations are listed below (Tas DIPWE unpublished report 2010):

Locality Year last seen Area (ha) Number
Prickly Wattle Lagoon
Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
1999 0.02 7
Bullocky Hill to Bottle Flat -
~5 colonies over 2.5 x 0.5 km
Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
1999 3 800
Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
1999 0.0001 2
Bluff Hill Point
2009   77
Gardiner Point
Cowrie Point ~1980 Presumed extinct  
Western Plains 1837 extinct  

The Arthur River Greenhood is found on dry, sandy slopes of sparesly vegetated stabilised sand dunes and also in permanently wet to moist scrubby and sedgy coastal heath converted to semi-improved pasture by annual slashing (Tas DIPWE 2000l).

The localised populations of the Arthur River Greenhood make is highly susceptible to stochastic processes. Its entire known distribution is associated with modified environments that are maintained by slashing and winter agistment. The sites occupied by the species are used for cattle grazing under agistment arrangements and occasionally slashed to keep them suitable for grazing. Like other orchids, the species is likely to be sensitive to artificial fertilisers. The use of fertilisers is believed to be responsible for the species' extinction on the north-west coast (Tas DIPWE 2000l).

The Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (TSS 2006a) was developed to address the threats facing 68 threatened orchid species in Tasmania. The overall objective of recovery is to minimise the probability of extinction in the wild of threatened orchid species listed on the Tasmanian TSP Act and the Commonwealth EPBC Act and to increase the probability of each taxon becoming self-sustaining in the long-term.

Within the life span of the plan (five years), the specific objectives for recovery for Tasmania's threatened orchids are:

  • Acquire accurate information for sound management decisions and conservation status assessments.
  • Ensure priority populations are managed appropriately and are securely protected.
  • Increase the number of known populations of threatened orchid taxa.
  • Raise public awareness of orchid conservation issues and develop mechanisms to encourage and coordinate community participation in orchid recovery programs.
  • Establish a network of government and non-government organisations and individuals that can provide input into recovery programs and undertake recovery actions.
  • Develop a better understanding of the life history and ecological requirements of threatened orchids in Tasmania.
  • Increase the size of priority populations in the wild.
  • Identify critical and potential habitat.
  • Establish a genetically representative ex situ collection of orchid taxa facing imminent extinction in the wild.

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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:plant Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan].

Jones, D.L., H. Wapstra, P. Tonelli & S. Harris (1999). The Orchids of Tasmania. Carlton South, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.

Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE) (2000l). Threatened Species Listing Statement-Arthur River greenhood Pterostylis rubenachii D. L. Jones 1998. [Online]. Available from:$FILE/Pterostylis%20rubenachii%20listing%20statement.pdf.

Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tas DIPWE) (2010). Orchid populations table updates, May 2010. Unpublished report.

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2006a). Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010. [Online]. Hobart, Tasmania: DPIWE. Available from:

EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

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). Pterostylis rubenachii in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Thu, 2 Oct 2014 12:39:20 +1000.