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 Critically Endangered as Pterostylis wapstrarum
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pterostylis wapstrarum (Fleshy Greenhood) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001bn) [Listing Advice].
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 wapstrarum.
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 wapstreorum.
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (05/10/2001) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2001c) [Legislative Instrument] as Pterostylis wapstrarum.
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Threatened Species Listing Statement-Fleshy greenhood Pterostylis wapstrarum D. L. Jones 1998 (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE), 2000m) [Information Sheet].
TAS:Pterostylis wapstrarum (Fleshy Greenhood): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014bk) [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 wapstrarum
Scientific name Pterostylis wapstrarum [66694]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author D.L.Jones
Infraspecies author  
Reference Austral. Orchid Res. 3: 156 (1998), as 'wapstreorum'
Other names Pterostylis wapstreorum [64970]
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

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

The Fleshy 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 Fleshy Greenhood encircles the base of the flower stem and has 4–7 rosette leaves (Tas DIPWE 2000m). The leaves are thick textured, fleshy, dark green, crowded, oblong elliptical to almost arrow shaped and tapered to each end. They are 15–27 mm long and 8–20 mm wide. The Fleshy Greenhood flowers in October and early November. In flower the plants are 8–22 cm tall and have 5–15 densely crowded green flowers with darker green veins. The hood apex curves down abruptly. The two lateral sepals hang down and are fused to form a deep pouch 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 9–10.5 mm long and 5 mm wide (Tas DIPWE 2000m).

The Fleshy Greenhood is endemic to Tasmania and the only recent record is from Pontville, north of Hobart. At this location there are 120 plants covering an area of 1 ha. Populations, now extinct, were located at the following sites (Tas DIPWE 2000m):

  • Glen Leith (last seen 1840)
  • Cambridge (last seen 1890)
  • Lewisham (last seen 1925)
  • Mt Nelson (last seen 1955)
  • Penstock (last seen 1929).

The Fleshy Greenhood occurs in native grassland and grassy woodland. At Pontville it occurs on basalt soils (Tas DIPWE 2000m).

The only population of the Fleshy Greenhood occurs on Commonwealth land subject to protection under the EPBC Act 1999. The single colony of the species is extremely vulnerable to stochastic processes. Damages to the population in years of good emergence, flowering and seedset, would have serious long term effects by reducing the recruitment from seed. Investigation of potentially suitable land in the Pontville region has revealed most of the suitable habitat has been converted to low density housing or been altered by fertilising and ploughing. As such it is unlikely the species will be found or relocated anywhere else in the district (Tas DIPWE 2000m).

Research has revealed the Redlegged Earth-mite, Halotydeus destructor, feeding on the leaves of the Fleshy Greenhood (Norris 2007).

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:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pterostylis wapstrarum (Fleshy Greenhood) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001bn) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pterostylis wapstrarum (Fleshy Greenhood) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001bn) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals The Orchids of Tasmania (Jones, D.L., H. Wapstra, P. Tonelli & S. Harris, 1999) [Book].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pterostylis wapstrarum (Fleshy Greenhood) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001bn) [Listing Advice].

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

Norris, P. (2007). Observations of a new threat to one of Tasmania's threatened orchids: The story of the mite versus the Greenhood. The Tasmanian Naturalist. 129:16-22.

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

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). Pterostylis wapstrarum in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:13:28 +1000.