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 Vulnerable as Drakaea micrantha
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval. (Dwarf Hammer-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008k) [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 Drakaea micrantha.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval..
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (101) (12/04/2010) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010j) [Legislative Instrument] as Drakaea micrantha.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
WA:Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Warren Region, Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No 40 (Hearn, R.W., R. Meissner, A.P. Brown, T.D. Macfarlane & T.R. Annels, 2006) [Management Plan].
WA:Declared Rare & Poorly Known Flora in the Albany District. Western Australian wildlife management program no. 20 (Robinson, C.J. & D.J. Coates, 1995) [State Action Plan].
WA:Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list) as Drakaea micrantha
Scientific name Drakaea micrantha [56755]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author Hopper & A.P.Br.
Infraspecies author  
Reference Hopper, S.D. & Brown, A.P. (2007) A revision of Australia's hammer orchids (Drakaea: Orchidaceae), with some field data on species-specific sexually deceived wasp pollinators. Australian Systematic Botany 20: 278-280, Figs 3, 23, 24 [tax. nov.]
Other names Drakaea micrantha Hopper & Brown ms. [67285]
Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown ms. [67375]
Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval. [81853]
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

The current conservation status of the Dwarf Hammer-orchid, Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval., under Australian and State Government legislation, is as follows:

National: Listed as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Western Australia: Listed as Declared Rare Flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

International: This species is currently listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Scientific name: Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval.

Common name: Dwarf Hammer-orchid

This species is currently known by the manuscript name Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval. (Brown et al. 1998; Western Australian Herbarium 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid is a tuberous, terrestrial herb which has a diminutive flower, 1.2–2.5 cm long, on a stem that grows to 30 cm (Brown et al. 1998; Robinson & Coates 1995; Williams et al. 2001). Its heart-shaped leaf, about 1.5 cm long, is silvery grey with prominent green veins (Brown et al. 1998).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid is known from 32 small, scattered populations from Perth to Albany, with secure populations in Frankland National Park. The populations are often very difficult to locate from year-to-year, as they do not necessarily flower annually (Brown et al. 1998; Hoffman & Brown 1992; Robinson & Coates 1995). It occurs in both the South West and Swan Natural Resource Management Regions.

The extent of occurrence is calculated to be 7173 km². Using a dataset taken from the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation's Threatened Flora Database (which contains single GPS coordinates for each subpopulation) area of occurrence was calculated by drawng a polygon around known populations. There is no data to indicate past, or projected, declines in extent of occurrence (WA DEC 2007).

The area of occupancy is calculated to be 0.961 hectares or 0.00961 km². This was calculated from the on-ground area of occupancy estimates that were recorded for 12 of the populations. The area of occupancy was not recorded for the remaining 20 populations, so an estimate was used based on the average size of the populations which are known. The Dwarf Hammer-orchid has become extinct at two locations, however this has not affected the area of occupancy. There is no data to indicate future declines in area of occupancy (WA DEC 2007).

As at 2007, there are no translocated populations of Dwarf Hammer-orchid (WA DEC 2007).

The species' distribution is severely fragmented. Dwarf Hammer-orchids occur in very small areas which are widely spaced. However, the habitat between them is often similar, contiguous and undisturbed (WA DEC 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid was first collected in 1930 by B.J. Goadby from an area east of the Porongorup Range (Brown et al. 1998). The original collection was placed with Glossy-leaved Hammer-orchid (Drakaea elastica) but was noted as being unusual. The species was not found again until the 1970s when it was collected by Alex George and Andrew Brown, and these collections were regarded as a form of Drakaea thynniphila. In the 1980s, further collections and work on specificity of pollinators by Hopper and Brown resulted in the recognition of Dwarf Hammer-orchid as a distinct species.

Dwarf Hammer-orchid is surveyed opportunistically by DEC staff. Limited surveys were made by Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM, now the Department of Environment and Conservation) staff in the September–October 2001/2002 flowering season but no new populations were found. Extensive searches were made in 2004/2005 to relocate populations 6a, 6b, 6c and 23. No plants were found.

The following table presents survey history of known populations (WA DEC 2007):


Population Survey History Number of Plants Recorded Area
1 15/09/1982
12/08/1988
2007
Unknown
2
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
Presumed Extinct
2 21/10/1982
09/2002
04/09/2003
3 (collection only)
0 (at this time)
0 (at this time)
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
3 08/10/1983
28/09/1988
04/09/1989
30/08/1990
11/10/1990
30/07/1991
30/09/1993
07/11/1996
27/10/1996
13/10/1998
28/10/2002
26/10/2004
2
12
1
40
19
Unknown
68
20
0
3
2
3
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
40 m²
40 m²
Not recorded
1 m²
4a 04/10/1988
10/10/1983
15/10/1985
09/10/1991
29/10/1992
08/10/1994
20/11/1996
10/10/1997
19/10/1998
100
Unknown
28
Unknown
26
5
0
13
14
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
4b 02/10/1991
29/10/1992
10/10/1997
9
37
20
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
5 16/09/1987
23/10/1991
12
2
Not recorded
Not recorded
6a 09/10/1983
13/10/1995
29/08/1997
27/10/1996
27/10/2001
26/10/2005
12
6
Not recorded
0
0
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
30 m²
Not recorded
5000 m² (area searched, includes 6b and 6c)
6b 16/10/1999
27/10/2001
26/10/2005
8
2
0
200 m²
1 m²
Not recorded
6c 01/01/2000
26/10/2005
2
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
8 16/09/1987
2007
3
0
Not recorded
Presumed Extinct
9a 03/11/1990
15/11/1998
Unknown
100+
Not recorded
40m ²
9b 11/10/2004 14 400 m²
9c 11/10/2004 6 Not recorded
10 03/11/1994
07/11/1996
07/10/1995
23/09/1997
15/10/1998
26/10/1999
40
40
45
44
20
117
Not recorded
150m ²
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
195 m²
12 29/09/1994
27/08/1997
07/10/1995
29/10/2002
20
Not recorded
Unknown
14
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
375 m²
13a 02/10/1994 4 100 m²
13b 08/10/1994 Unknown Not recorded
15 02/10/1977
14/11/2002
Collection only
0 (at this time)
Not recorded
Not recorded
16 10/10/1985
14/11/2002
1
0
Not recorded
Not recorded
18 02/10/1998 3 Not recorded
19 30/10/1997
14/10/1998
23/10/1999
29/09/2001
28/10/2002
14/10/2004
18
13
14
7
20
28
500 m²
300 m²
120 m²
Not recorded
750 m²
540 m²
21a* 19/09/2000
11/10/2004
6
96
Not recorded
Not recorded
21b* 11/10/2004 Unknown Not recorded
21c* 11/10/2004 Unknown Not recorded
22 03/10/2000
14/10/2002
07/10/2003
27/09/2004
Unknown
10
16
22
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
Not recorded
23 03/10/1997
29/10/2002
26/10/2004
Unknown
3
0
Not recorded
440 m²
440 m²
25 09/10/2002
27/09/2005
10
20+
Not recorded
Not recorded
26 09/10/2002
23/09/2005
6
5
Not recorded
Not recorded
27 09/10/2002 30 Not recorded
28 09/10/2005 3 40 m²
29 21/10/2002 Collection only Not recorded
30 09/11/2005 12 1000 m²
31 17/09/2002 0 Not recorded
32 23/10/2005 1 Not recorded

Note: Populations 11 and 14 were later re-identified as a different species of Drakaea.

*The identity of Dwarf Hammer-orchid at this site is yet to be determined.

The total population size for Dwarf Hammer-orchid is estimated to be approximately 514 mature plants. However, this is an estimated count from population monitoring that occurred up to a decade ago for some populations and is therefore likely to be inaccurate (WA DEC 2007).

The species is known from 32 populations, some of which can be split into subpopulations based upon their slightly separated locations. The plants at populations 1 and 8 are likely to be extinct. Although plants have not been recorded at other locations for some time, they may not be locally extinct.

The population trend appears to be stable. Although two populations have become extinct, the remaining populations appear to be healthy in well-reserved habitat, though with some threatening processes (particularly fire). More survey effort and research is needed to determine whether the observed population fluctuations reflect any trends (WA DEC 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid has been recorded as hybridising with King-in-his-carriage (Drakaea glyptodon) (WA DEC 2007), although it is unknown which populations are affected.

The population numbers may fluctuate as a result of disturbance events, such as fire or land clearing, which appear to promote regeneration from soil stored seed. However, disturbance events such as fire and soil disturbance will kill the plants if they are in their growing phase (WA DEC 2007).

Fifteen subpopulations occur in national parks or nature reserves which are managed for conservation of flora and fauna but not specifically for the management of the Dwarf Hammer-orchid. The remaining subpopulations occur on private land, State Forest or shire road reserves (WA DEC 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid is usually found on cleared firebreaks or open sandy patches that have been disturbed, where competition from other plants has been removed (Brown et al. 1998; Hearn et al. 2006). This suggests that the plants may need a disturbance event at some point, and that plants regenerate from soil stored seed after such an event (WA DEC 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid occurs in infertile grey sands, in Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and Common Sheoak (Allocasuarina fraseriana) woodland or forest associated with Banksia species. It is often found under thickets of Spearwood (Kunzea ericifolia) with the Flying Duck-orchid (Paracaleana nigrita) and other Drakaea species (Brown et al. 1998; Hoffman & Brown 1992; Robinson & Coates 1995).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid flowers from September to October (Brown et al. 1998; Hoffman & Brown 1998; Robinson & Coates 1995; Williams et al. 2001).

The generation length of this species is not known. Its response to mechanical disturbance is unknown, but is probably the same as its response to fire (that is, when above ground parts are removed the plant will die if the tuber is not mature). Observation of known populations indicates that plants are able to quickly recolonise areas that have been disturbed (Hearn et al. 2006). This is particularly the case if the disturbance does not destroy the tuber and does not occur during the active growing period, so that the plants are able to re-emerge the following season (WA DEC 2007).

Conditions required for flowering include adequate winter rains (WA DEC 2007). The species is pollinated by a single species of Thynnid wasp, the male of which responds to (sexually deceptive) pheromones that the orchid flower emits (WA DEC 2007). This pollinator requires Banksia woodland habitat adjacent to the orchid's preferred habitat, as it feeds on the nectar-producing plants abundant in that woodland.

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid is not known to reproduce vegetatively.

Seed germination relies on the presence of a specific mycorrhizal fungus. This symbiotic relationship is essential for seedling establishment and the growth of the plant from its dormant tuber each year (WA DEC 2007). Although very large quantities of seed are released from each capsule only a fraction become mature plants (Carstairs & Coates 1994).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid plants are difficult to relocate as they do not necessarily flower every year (Brown et al. 1998). The plants may also be mistaken for other hammer-orchids with which the species often grows, such as King-in-his-carriage (Drakaea glyptodon) which has a similar leaf when immature but has a larger less venated leaf and larger flower with a more swollen labellum when in bloom (Brown et al. 1998; Hoffman & Brown 1998).

Despite potential habitat for the orchid being common between Perth and Albany, the orchid is not. Surveys are best undertaken in suitable habitat during spring when the plants are in flower. Although a trained observer can identify the plants from the venation patterns on the leaf, if potential plants are found then they should be revisited each year until they are in flower and their identity can be confirmed (WA DEC 2007).

The Dwarf Hammer-orchid may be killed by fire between June and early October, when its above ground parts and replacement tuber are actively growing (they emerge in late autumn and dehisce in late spring) (Brown et al. 1998). However, they are not affected by fire once their new tubers are fully formed and dormant (Hearn et al. 2006). The susceptibility of Dwarf Hammer-orchid plants to weeds is unknown, however they are probably vulnerable to displacement by weed species (Hearn et al. 2006).

The following table presents threats to different populations of this species (WA DEC 2007):

Sub-population Number Current Condition Past Present Potential
1 No plants found at last survey      
2 No plants found at last survey      
3 Moderate   Lack of disturbance to stimulate regeneration Roadworks
4a       Recreational activities, roadworks
4b Healthy     Recreational activities, roadworks from logging operations
5        
6a     Competition from other plants Roadworks, prescribed burning
6b        
6c        
8        
9a   Prescribed burning   Recreation (on edge of walk trail)
9b Healthy     Recreation (on edge of walk trail)
9c        
10 Healthy     Firebreak maintenance
12 Healthy     Recreational activities, roadworks, prescribed burning
13a Healthy      
13b No plants found at last survey      
15 No plants found at last survey      
16 Healthy     Roadworks
18 Healthy      
19 Healthy     Roadworks
21a* Healthy Firebreak maintenance Construction of the Kemerton gas pipeline Firebreak maintenance, recreational activities, weeds, prescribed burning, rubbish dumping
21b*     Construction of the Kemerton gas pipeline  
21c*     Construction of the Kemerton gas pipeline  
22 Healthy   Kangaroo/rabbit grazing  
23 Disturbed Rabbit diggings    
25 Healthy   Firebreak maintenance  
26 Healthy      
27 Healthy      
28 Healthy     High fuel accumulation
29 No plants found at last survey      
30 Healthy      
31 No plants found at last survey      
32 Healthy      

*The identity of Dwarf Hammer-orchid at this site is yet to be determined.

Population 3 has declined from approximately 20 plants in 1996 to three plants in 2004. A lack of disturbance is the most likely factor affecting recruitment.

Populations 6a, 6b and 6c have not been found despite recent surveys. The potential habitat has been reduced because of competition from other plants and a lack of disturbance is affecting regeneration. The record of population 6b in October 1999 noted that the road had been recently graded and that prior to this event, there had been no sign that Dwarf Hammer-orchid occurred at this site.

Population 8 was possibly removed or covered by spoil during a grading operation in 1995 or early 1996. Extensive searching in spring 1998 and 1999 failed to locate any plants.

Population 10 occurs on land that has been previously cleared but not grazed for many years.

Controlled or prescribed burns may be a threat to the populations that occur on Department of Environment and Conservation lands (WA DEC 2007).

The following management actions are recommended by Evans and colleagues (2003), Hearn and colleagues (2006) and Williams and colleagues (2007) for the recovery of the Dwarf Hammer-orchid:

  • monitor populations annually
  • reassess conservation status of all populations
  • conduct further surveys for new populations and resurvey known populations
  • determine susceptibility to Phytophthora dieback
  • monitor and control weeds
  • install rare flora markers on all populations found along road reserves.

In 2007, a PhD was underway at the University of Western Australia, with co-supervision from the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, reviewing population dynamics, genetic variability within populations, soil fungi and pollination requirements for a range of Drakaea species, including the Dwarf Hammer-orchid.

Descriptive information and recovery actions are described in Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Warren Region (Hearn et al. 2006), Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Central Forest Region (Williams et al. 2001) and Threatened flora of Swan Region (Evans et al. 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
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval. (Dwarf Hammer-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008k) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Drakaea micrantha Hopper & A.P.Brown nom. inval. (Dwarf Hammer-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008k) [Conservation Advice].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2 (Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb, 2001) [State Species Management Plan].

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

Carstairs, S. & D. Coates (1994). Conservation Genetics and Population Ecology of Five Rare and Threatened Western Australian Orchids. Endangered Species Unit, Australian Nature Conservation Agency.

Evans, R., N. Willers & D. Mitchell (2003). Threatened flora of the Swan Region. Unpublished report to the Department of Conservation and Land Management and Environment Australia.

Hearn, R.W., R. Meissner, A.P. Brown, T.D. Macfarlane & T.R. Annels (2006). Declared rare and poorly known flora in the Warren Region, Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No 40. [Online]. Western Australian 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 (1992). Orchids of South-west Australia 2nd edn. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press.

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

Robinson, C.J. & D.J. Coates (1995). Declared Rare & Poorly Known Flora in the Albany District. Western Australian wildlife management program no. 20. [Online]. Como, Western Australia: Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation (WA DEC) (2007). Records held in DEC's Declared Flora Database and rare flora files. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Environment and Conservation.

Western Australian Herbarium (2007). FloraBase: The Western Australian Flora. [Online]. Western Australia, Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/. [Accessed: 05-Apr-2007].

Williams, K., A. Horan, S. Wood & A. Webb (2001). Declared Rare and Poorly Known Flora in the Central Forest Region. Part 2. [Online]. Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 33. Department of Conservation and Land Management. Available from: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/plants-and-animals/threatened-species-and-communities/threatened-plants.

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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). Drakaea micrantha in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:23:47 +1000.