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
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].
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
TAS:Prasophyllum secutum (Northern Leek-orchid): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014bb) [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)
Scientific name Prasophyllum secutum [64954]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L. Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Austral. Orchid Res. 3: 113 (1998)
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$FILE/Prasophyllum%20secutum%20listing%20statement.pdf

Scientific name: Prasophyllum secutum

Common name: Northern Leek-orchid

The Northern Leek-orchid is a deciduous terrestrial herb 12–35 cm tall (Jones 1998d; Jones et al. 1999; TAS DIPWE 2008k). Underground tubers are round to oval with attached irregular, fleshy roots. A single pale to dark green leaf, purple-reddish at the base, begins growth in early winter. At the side of this leaf, a flower spike emerges bearing 9–30 flower heads held upside down on a dense spike 8–14 cm long. Flowers are fragrant, produce copious amounts of nectar, 7–9 mm long and 4–5 mm wide, light brown, with a brown central line on the petals, and a whitish labellum with wavy or frilly margins. Lateral sepals are not united. The petals are 4.5–5.5 mm long and 1.3 mm wide. The labellum is abruptly recurved at more than right angles near the middle, the apex often protruding through the lateral sepals, and the upper surface and margins are covered with small elongate papillae. The labellum has slightly irregular margins. The fleshy green callus on the labellum is broadly channelled and covered with small papillae. It extends just beyond the bend on the labellum (TAS DIPWE 2008k).

This species is endemic to Tasmania, and found along the north coast, on the west coast at Ocean Beach and on Flinders Island (TAS DIPWE 2008k).

The area of occupancy of all known populations is estimated to be less than 10 ha (TAS DIPWE 2008k).

Thirteen populations are recorded (TAS DIPWE 2008k):

  • Logan Lagoon, Logan Lagoon Conservation Area
  • Reddins Creek, Flinders Island Unallocated crown land
  • Waterhouse Point, Waterhouse Conservation Area
  • Blizzards Landing, Waterhouse Conservation Area
  • South Croppies Point Road, Waterhouse Conservation Area
  • Lulworth Tip
  • Weymouth Road
  • Aerodrome Road, Private land
  • Anthony Beach, Private land
  • West of Smithton
  • Jim Crowe Scrub, Crown land
  • Tiger Flat, Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area
  • Ocean Beach, Crown land.

The Northern Leek-orchid relies on fire to stimulate flowering events making it difficult to estimate the number of populations or individuals within populations. It is predicted that more populations will be found due to the species' wide distribution. Most known populations are small, with between 10–30 plants. There are only two large populations, Lulworth Tip containing 100–150 plants and Anthony Beach with 100 plants. Overall, the total number of mature individuals has been estimated to be approximately 500 (TAS DIPWE 2008k).

The species is known from the Arthur-Pieman (TAS PWS 2002), Logan Lagoon and Waterhouse Conservation Areas. The Reddins Creek population occurs on crown land adjacent to the Strzelecki National Park that has been suggested for inclusion into the National Park (TAS DIPWE 2008k).

This species grows in dense coastal scrub in the swales of stabilized sand dunes near the coast. Soils are white to grey sands and sandy loam. It grows at altitudes of 10–30 m above sea level (Jones 1998d).

Flowering is recorded from October to December, and only after fires (Jones 1998d). Reproduction is solely from seed (Jones, D.L. 2001, pers. comm.).

This species is threatened by habitat destruction or degradation from agriculture, coastal development and weeds. 4WD activities, along with sand collection and rubbish dumping in dune systems (noted especially for the largest population at Lulworth) (Jones, D.L. 2001, pers. comm.; TAS DIPWE 2008k).

A national Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 has been adopted (TSS 2006a). This recovery plan outlines actions to manage 68 identified threatened orchids in Tasmania, 20 of which are listed under the EPBC Act.Actions include (TSS 2006a):

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

To increase understanding of the Northern Leek-orchid, along with other Tasmanian orchids in order to protect populations, DPIWE and the volunteer Tasmanian Threatened Plant Action Group (TPAG) are undertaking long-term annual monitoring of known orchid populations to provide information with which to assess recovery actions (Larcombe 2008). Draft management plans have been prepared for the Arthur-Pieman, Waterhouse and Logan Lagoon Conservation Areas (TAS DIPWE 2008k; TAS PWS 2002).

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].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Flora Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Threatened Orchids 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006a) [Recovery Plan].

Jones, D.L. (1998d). Contributions to Tasmanian Orchidology 1-9. Australian Orchid Research. 3. Essendon, Victoria: Australian Orchid Foundation.

Jones, D.L. (2001). Personal Communication.

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

Larcombe, M. (2008). Tasmanian Threatened Orchid Baseline Data and Monitoring: Where we are at and where we need to be. The Tasmanian Naturalist. 130:67-81.

Tasmanian of Primary Industries, Water & Environment, Threatened Species Section (TAS DIPWE) (2008k). Listing Statement Northern leek-orchid Prasophyllum secutum. [Online]. Department of Primary Industries, Water & Environment, Tasmania. Available from:$FILE/Prasophyllum%20secutum%20listing%20statement.pdf. [Accessed: 30-May-2010].

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (TAS PWS) (2002). Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area Management Plan 2002. [Online]. Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Hobart. Available from: [Accessed: 30-May-2010].

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

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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). Prasophyllum secutum in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Thu, 2 Oct 2014 10:31:22 +1000.