Title: Fungal associations of Dipodium hamiltonianum (Yellow hyacinth orchid)
Applicant: Dr. John Dearnaley
Institute: The University of Southern Queensland
The conservation of the rare yellow hyacinth orchid Dipodium hamiltonianum requires identification of its fungal endophyte and the orchid’s host tree species. The aim of this project was to identify both using molecular techniques. This information would then contribute to the long term management and in situ conservation of this orchid by recognition of some of its ecological requirements and would assist in determining requirements in horticultural situations.
The project was completed and the main fungal endophytes of the orchid identified as members of the fungal family Russulaceae, common ectomycorrhizal species on Eucalypts in Australia, suggesting that these orchids are linked to their tree hosts via a fungal connection. They did not find a specific host tree preference. A key to conservation of the species may lie in determining culture methods for the fungus.