Genoplesium baueri is yet another small terrestrial orchid which cannot be grown. It is recognised as being monospecific and my recent research indicates it has a rather loose grip on permanency. This is an orchid which is low in numbers, saprophytic, self-pollinating and does not have an annual tuber replacement system as do most other terrestrial species. It is also endemic to New South Wales between Port Stephens and Ulladulla, limited to 13 sites, does not form colonies and boasts an overall population of 210 plants at altitudes from sea level to 250 m.
G. baueri is listed and a Vulnerable Species under the New South Wales Threatened SpeciesConservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) but a nomination has just been forwarded to have it nominated as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)and also raise its status to the same under the TSC Act.
Plants of G. baueri are on average about 80 mm–120 mm tall and seldom have more than 4-5 flowers although 12 has been recorded on one plant in Sydney’s northern suburbs. It was named from Port Jackson in 1810 by Robert Brown and previously known as Prasophyllumbaueri and P. deaneanum and carries the common name of The Brittle Midge Orchid and while the floral segments are slender and upside down, they can spread to 20 mm in width.
G. baueri prefers open forest, woodland and shrubby forest in well drained gravelly or sandy soils. The majority of plants are found in relatively open areas but the largest population is located under a good overstorey and dense ground cover. Almost all populations are under threat from a development of some type, whether that might be road work or residential development. These factors, accompanied by the low numbers and fragmented populations are the reason for its nomination and only time will tell if either or both are successful.