Paten Park Native Nursery - 57 Paten Road, Paten Park, The Gap, QLD 4061
Paten Park Native Nursery

Dipodium variegatum

Dipodium variegatum
Dipodium variegatum, North Stradbroke Island, Oct 2015

These little native orchids, commonly called "Hyacinth Orchids", are quite peculiar. They're effectively leafless and spend the bulk of their lives completely underground, where they rely entirely on relationships with soil fungi for nourishment. But not just any fungi will do! They only get on with a specific type of fungi, and so can only exist where the right species occurs.

So please, when they poke their beautiful flower stalks out of the soil in spring & summer, please do not pick them! Please do not try to transplant them! This is not an orchid to own at home, and should be appreciated all the more for it. It is a special experience to meet one, so admire them as they are, where they occur naturally, so that others may meet them too.

Some places to do this are... Eucalypt forests with heathy understory on sandy or gravelly soils, such as the Chermside Hills Reserves and North Stradbroke Island.

Photo & text by N. Murphy