Origins of the name:
Greek Monachos, solitary; aden, a gland. Bracteate,
with bracts (5).
Useful plants in the same family:
The largest family in the world, orchids represent nearly a tenth of all
flowering plants (5). They occupy a diverse range
of habitats from Alaska to Macquarie Island and are most diverse and abundant
in the moist tropics. They are important ecologically having symbiotic
relationships with soil fungi and a variety of insect pollinators. They
are cultivated for commercial purpose (4). This
orchid could possibly be confused with indigenous orchids such as those
of the genera Microtis or Prasophyllum.
Weeds in the same family:
There are no other invasive introduced orchids in South Australia. However,
given their biological diversity, the potential exists for some species
(for example those which are self-pollinating and wind dispersed like
Monadenia bracteata) to be invasive when removed from their natural
Monadenia bracteata degrades native vegetation, competing with
many small understorey plants such as lilies, as well as local indigenous
One of 20 Monadenia species endemic in South Africa (2).
In Australia it has escaped orchid collections where it was cultivated
as a curiosity (4).
In WA it has become naturalised in moist disturbed areas on the Coastal
Plain and Darling Scarp from Perth southward. It extends through near-coastal
areas to Esperance (2).
In SA it has been recorded in the South-east at Nanggwarry, near Eden
Valley in the Murray region, in the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges at Mount
Crawford Forest, Second Valley on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Mount Bold,
Scott Creek, Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, Cherryville, Mylor and Aldgate
(6). South Australian populations also exist in
Belair Recreation Park (9), Kaiserstuhl Conservation
Park(7) and Para Wirra Recreation Park(8).
In Victoria it is recorded at Lower Glenelg National Park, White Elephant
Hills near Bacchus Marsh and near Melbourne at Hurstbridge (12).
Recently populations have been recorded at Stawell and near Bendigo(Moerkerk)
Monadenia bracteata is not a proclaimed species anywhere in Australia.
A tuberous, self-pollinated, perennial herb(1) which
flowers from October to November(2). The tuber is
dormant for much of the year. In early spring it grows a rosette of leaves
and in October, a flowering stem carrying up to 50 flowers (10).
Each plant produces tens of thousands of seeds that are dispersed by the
A rosette of soft grass-like leaves. A thick, fleshy flower spike of tiny
brown flowers among overlapping green bracts (10).
"Erectů, usually 0.2-0.3 m high, with a large tuber. Leaves numerous,
decreasing in size progressively up the stem; lower leaves 50-150 mm long,
tapering from a broad base to an acuminate apex, channelled. Spike cylindric,
many-flowered, 20-200 mm long. Flower bracts leaf-like, markedly exceeding
the flowers in the lower part of the inflorescence but the uppermost bracts
often slightly shorter than the flowers. Sepals greenish-white, with a
red or red-brown apex, 3 mm long; adaxial sepal erect, 3-4 mm long, adaxially
spurred; spur pendulose, reddish, 4-5 mm long, narrow; lateral sepals
spreading, recurved, ca 3mm long. Lateral petals slightly shorter than
the sepals. Labellum yellow, ca 2 mm long. Ovary 5-7 mm long." (2)
Dust sized (10).
A rosette of many narrow, tapered leaves(10).
Usually solitary, directly below the rosette(10).
Potential benefits of the weed:
References and further reading:
(1) Lazarides, M., Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997) Handbook of Australian
Weeds. CSIRO, Collingwood, Vic.
(2) Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander,
N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987) Flora of the Perth region, Vol.
2, Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Perth, WA.
(4) Bates, R.J., and Weber, J.Z. (1990) Orchids of South Australia,
The Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee, South Australia.
(5) Flora of South Australia Part IV (1986) J.P. Jessop and H.R.
Toelken eds. The Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee,
(6) ADHERB [vl. 4, 22sep99] State Herbarium of South Australia.
(7) Cathy Potts, pers. com. 31/1/2000.
(8) Amanda McNicol, pers. com. 16/3/2000.
(9) Bates, B. (1996) The History of Monadenia Native Orchid Society
of South Australia, J20: 25-26
(10) Robertson, E. and Bates, R. Monadenia a Weedy Alien Orchid.
State Herbarium of South Australia information sheet.
(12) Csurhes, S. and Edwards, R. (1998) Potential Environmental Weeds
in Australia: Candidate Species for Preventative Control. Biodiversity
Group, Environment Australia, Canberra.
(13) Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery G.K., Cousens R.D., Dodd J. and Lloyd S.G.
(1997) Western Weeds: A guide to the weeds of Western Australia.
Plant Protection Society of Western Australia.
8th May 2001, Listed 22/11/2000 by Michael Moerkerk