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Project: 307 / 2016
Title: Growing Diuris fragrantissima (Sunshine Diuris) in the thousands to establish new populations.
Applicant: Karen Lester
Institution: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Diuris fragrantissima is an endangered grassland orchid with a single small wild population. The successful establishment of new D. fragrantissima populations, at secure sites, is a priority recovery action for this species. The major outcome of this project will be the production of 3000 D. fragrantissima plants by the Royal Botanic Gardens, grown to at least three years of age, ready for the D. fragrantissima site selection research trial commencing within four years. This research trial aims to rigorously assess key site selection factors, leading to the development of a ‘best bet’ site selection prescription, and ultimately establish multiple new orchid populations in the wild.

Tasks for this propagation project commenced in 2015, with collection of wild orchid root samples for isolation of mycorrhizal fungi, and collection of seed. Intensive management of the wild orchid’s Plains Grassland habitat and of individual plants occurred throughout 2015 to maximise plant emergence and reproductive success, resulting in the highest level of flowering and capsule production this century. Seed produced was sown with the orchid’s mycorrhizal fungi at the Botanic Gardens lab, and by June 2016 seedlings were being ‘deflasked’ or planted out into pots for transfer to the nursery.

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