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Australian Endangered Plants: Frankston Spider Orchid

Australian Endangered Plants: Frankston Spider Orchid

The Frankston Spider Orchard is one of the most endangered orchards in Australia.  It is included in many critically endangered and threatened lists and in 1994 was pronounced as critically endangered by the IUCN Red Book.  As can be imagined, the Frankston Spider Orchard gets its name from the curiously shaped flower tendrils which look like spiders legs. It is a beautiful orchard, with warm yellow flowers tipped with dark red and a striking shape.  The Frankston Spider Orchard is found in a small area of the Mornington Peninsula just outside of Melbourne.  As it is only found in one particular place which is threatened by urban development, conservation efforts have been difficult and it is estimated only 100 plants are left.  Along with urban development, the Frankston Spider Orchard is threatened by weed invasion, habitat degradation and altered fire regimes.  As they are beautiful and found in a somewhat urban setting, illegal collection in the form of picking flowers is another threat to the species.  To save the Frankston Spider Orchard, a conservation plan has been put in place by the state government which includes implementing a fire management plan, stopping the spread of weeds and educating locals on the ways they can help save the endangered species.