Rhizanthella gardneri R.S. Rogers 1928 Photo courtesy of Herb Foote.

Flower Photo courtesy of Ron Heberle.

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Common Name Gardner's Rhizanthella - In Australia The Western Underground Orchid

Flower Size .8 to 1" [2 to 2.5 cm] Flowerhead - .2 to .24" [5 to 6 mm] wide individual flower

Found in Western Australia at elevations of 300 to 400 meters in mallee forms of broombush in well drained sandy clays as a mini-miniature sized, warm to cool growing underground terrestrial orchid. Only the flower breaks the surface of the ground, so most of the orchids life is spent totally underground. This undergound marvel consists of a fleshy, white, sparsely hairy rhizome with sparse small, triangular bracts that blooms in the late fall on an erect, tapered, [4 to 6 mm] long, flower stem with a few scattered bracts carrying a concave, fleshy flowerhead with 6 to 8 floral bracts and 8 to 90 flowers held in a tight spiral. The plant is erect if below ground becoming prostrate if above gound

References W3 Tropicos, Kew Monocot list , IPNI ; Encyclopedia of Cultivated Orchids Hawkes 1965; AOS Bulletin Vol 35 No 4 1966; Die Orchideen #6 21-24 tafel 7 Rudolph Schlechter 1971 drawing ok; AOS Bulletin Vol 49 No 4 1980 photo; Rudolf Schlechter Die Orchideen Lieferung 41 2001 drawing fide; Genera Orchidacearum Vol 2 Part One Pridgeon, Cribb, Chase and Rasmussen 2001 photo/drawing fide; Native Orchids of Australia Jones 2006 photo good

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