Biodiversity

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 Thelymitra stellata
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [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] as Thelymitra stellata.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Narrogin District (Durell, G.S. & R.M. Buehrig, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
WA:Declared Rare Flora in the Katanning District (Graham, M. & M. Mitchell, 2000) [State Species Management Plan].
WA:Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 28. Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Moora District (Patrick, S.J. & A.P. Brown, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Thelymitra stellata
Scientific name Thelymitra stellata [7060]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Lindley
Infraspecies author  
Reference Edwards's Botanical Register -- Appendix to Vols 1-23: A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony: xlix (1 Jan. 1840).
Other names Thelymitra fuscolutea var. stellata [22703]
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
http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/photo?f=066&level=s&id=10862&PHPSESSID=1ce64df35f2224adf67881969bc61190

The Star Sun-orchid is a terrestrial orchid growing 15-50 cm high with multiple (up to six) golden-brown flowers with yellow or orange sepals and petals on a single, robust stem. The column hood is deeply fringed on both sides and usually bright orange in colour. The labellum is simple and unmodified. The central portion is woolly with dense papillate glands (Florabase 2010; Hoffman & Brown 1998). A single, broad lily-like leaf, up to 9 cm long and 4 cm wide clasps the stem at the base (Graham & Mitchell 2000).

Plants in the Narrogin District tend to have fewer flowers and a smaller stature (Graham & Mitchell 2000).

The Star Sun-orchid is endemic to Western Australia where it occurs between Three Springs in the north to near Darkan in the south (DEC 2012b cited in Woodman Environmental Consulting 2013). There are records in the east to Corrigan (in 2013), west of Lake Grace (in 1931, has not been relocated) and west of Kalgoorlie (1998 and 2000) (ALA 2014; NatureMap 2014). The species is known from 42 populations (DEC 2012b cited in Woodman Environmental Consulting 2013) with the majority of records from two areas: the Geraldton Sandplains (betwen Arrowsmith River, Coomallo Nature Reserve and Lesueur National Park) and the Jarrah Forest (Toodyay, Muchea and Armadale) (NatureMap 2014). The species has also been collected in Armadale Settlers Common Reserve, 29 km south east of Perth (Ecoscape Pty Ltd 2003).

Known populations are small, most numbering fewer than 10 plants. Data indicates that most populations consist of relatively few (generally less than 20) individuals, and many may no longer exist (Woodman Environmental Consulting 2013).

Woodman Environmental Consulting (2013) recorded 273 individuals at one population at a site 50 km south-east of Dongara. This population consisted of approximately 18-20 subpopulations that were represented by 144 point locations (Woodman Environmental Consulting 2013). Previously, the species total population has not been estimated.

The Star Sun-orchid grows among low heath and scrub in Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and Wandoo (E. wandoo) woodland, both on ridges and slopes, flats, also on riverbanks and breakaways. Soil types are red, brown, yellow, or grey sandy loams clay or gravel over laterite or gravel. Dry, moist or saline conditions are tolerated (Atkins 1998; Brown et al. 1998; Kelly et al. 1990; Patrick & Brown 2001). In the north of its range, Woodman Environmental Consulting (2013) considered potential habitat for this species (based on known locations) to be areas where laterite is exposed, with areas considered as primary habitat being the tops of breakaways and hills.

Woodman Environmental Consulting (2013) surveyed a 9500 ha area 50 km south-east of Dongara (the far north of the species range) and found the Star Sun-orchid predominantly in this type of vegetation:

  • Mid mallee woodland to isolated mallees of Eucalyptus conveniens over mid shrubland to open shrubland dominated by Allocasuarina campestris over low shrubland and sedgeland of mixed species dominated by Ecdeiocolea monostachya, Hakea auriculata, Melaleuca radula, M. aspalathoides and Banksia fraseri var. fraseri on gravelly-grey or brown clay loams usually over massive laterite on breakaway tops, ridges and lateritic rises (Star Sun-orchid found in 129 locations).

The Star Sun-orchid flowers from late September to November. The leaf is usually shriveled by the time of flowering and the plant dies back below ground level after seed set. This species regenerates from rootstock following autumn fires (Atkins 1998) but may be killed by fire during the growing period of May to November (Brown et al. 1998; Kelly et al. 1990).

Flowers remain closed overnight and during cool overcast weather, and are probably pollinated by beetles attracted to the orchid as potential mates, as observed in a related species, the Leopard Orchid (Thelymitra fuscolutea) (Graham & Mitchell 2000; Patrick & Brown 2001).

The Star Sun Orchid was considered a variety of the Leopard Orchid at one stage, appearing very similar (Hoffman & Brown 1998; Kelly et al. 1990). It is distinguished from the Leopard Orchid and another species with close resemblance, Thelymitra jacksonii, by its smaller leaves and flowers, less blotched more uniformly golden-brown sepals and petals that are also lighter in colour than those of T. jacksonii, more northerly distribution than either species and a generally earlier flowering period (Brown et al. 1998; Patrick & Brown 2001).

As the Star Sun Orchid occurs at low densities over relatively large areas, Woodman Environmental Consulting (2013) undertook a survey with the aim of inspecting as many areas of potential habitat as possible and searching primary habitat in a loose grid, with personnel spaced approximately 30-50 m apart, and at closer intervals in denser vegetation.

The main identified threats to the Star Sun Orchid are inappropriate fire regimes (particularly fire dirung the growing phase), weed invasion, browsing by feral rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), broad scale vegetation clearing, and increasing fragmentation of habitat (ANRA 2007; Desmond 2001; Patrick & Brown 2001).

The main potential threats to the species include invasion by exotic weeds; recreational activities; road widening activities; and gravel extraction (ANRA 2007; Desmond 2001).

The Western Australian Government have adopted a management program for threatened flora in the Moora district that includes the Star Sun-Orchid (Patrick & Brown 2001). This plan identifies the following management and research requirements to assist recovery of the Star Sun Orchid:

  • Continue close liaison with landowners/managers and local authorities.
  • Monitor populations regularly to determine their conservation status.
  • Protect from fire, where possible, during the growing period.
  • Ensure that dieback hygiene procedures are carried out at all populations.
  • Germplasm material should be collected for storage according to the protocols of the Threatened Flora Seed Centre at the Western Australian Herbarium.
  • Further surveys should be carried out in areas of suitable habitat.

The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008vy) have developed a document with advice for the conservation of the Star Sun Orchid, which provides both regional and local priority actions.

Management Documents for the Star Sun-Orchid are available at the start of the profile. Other relevant documents include:

  • Lesueur National Park and Coomallo Nature Reserve Management Plan 1995-2005 (CALM 1995)
  • Armadale Settlers Common Management Plan 2003 (Ecoscape Pty Ltd 2003).

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 Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat modification through open cut mining/quarrying activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Thelymitra stellata in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006vt) [Internet].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Development and/or maintenance of roads Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008vy) [Conservation Advice].

Atkins, K.J. (1998). Conservation Statements for threatened flora within the regional forest agreement region for Western Australia. Page(s) 1-95. Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (2014). Atlas of Living Australia. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ala.org.au/.

Australian Natural Resource Atlas (ANRA) (2007). Biodiversity Assessment NSW North Coast. [Online]. Available from: http://www.anra.gov.au/topics/vegetation/assessment/qld/ibra-nnc-species-threats.html. [Accessed: 01-Jul-2008].

Brown, A., C. Thomson-Dans & N. Marchant, eds. (1998). Western Australia's Threatened Flora. Como, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) (1995a). Lesueur National Park and Coomallo Nature Reserve Management Plan 1995 -2005. [Online]. Available from: http://www.naturebase.net/pdf/nature/management/lesueur.pdf.

Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) (2014). NatureMap: Mapping Western Australia's Biodiversity. [Online]. Department of Environment and Conservation. Available from: http://naturemap.dec.wa.gov.au/.

Desmond, A. (2001). A Biodiversity Audit of Western Australia's 53 Biogeographical Subregions: Swan Coastal Plain 1 (SWA1 - Dandadagan Plateau subregion). [Online]. Available from: http://www.naturebase.net/pdf/science/bio_audit/swan_coastal_plain01_p595-605.pdf. [Accessed: 06-May-2008].

Ecoscape (Australia) Pty Ltd (2003). Armadale Settlers Common Management Plan 2003. Report prepared for the City of Armadale. Available onlione: http://www.bio-nica.info/Biblioteca/Ecoscape2003CityStrat.pdf. Viewed 11 June 2010. [Online]. Available from: http://www.bio-nica.info/Biblioteca/Ecoscape2003CityStrat.pdf. [Accessed: 11-Jun-2010].

Florabase (2010). Thelymitra stellata. [Online]. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/10862. [Accessed: 11-Jun-2010].

Graham, M. & M. Mitchell (2000). Declared Rare Flora in the Katanning District. [Online]. Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

Hoffman, N. & A. Brown (1998). Orchids of South-west Australia Rev. 2nd edn. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

Kelly, A.E., D.J. Coates, I. Hereford, S.D. Hopper, M. O'Donoghue & L. Robson (1990). Declared Rare Flora and Other Plants in need of Special Protection in the Northern Forest Region. Perth: Department of Conservation & Land Management.

Patrick, S.J. & A.P. Brown (2001). Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 28. Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Moora District. [Online]. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008vy). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Thelymitra stellata. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/7060-conservation-advice.pdf.

Woodman Environmental Consulting (2013). West Erregulla Project Flora and Vegetation Assessment. Prepared for Warrego Energy Limited.

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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). Thelymitra stellata in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:49:20 +1000.