Nature conservation

Threatened species

East Lynne Midge Orchid - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Genoplesium vernale
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Gazetted date: 05 Oct 2001
Profile last updated: 05 Jul 2019


The East Lynne Midge Orchid has 10 to 25 flowers densely crowded onto a spike less than 4 cm long, on a thin round stem less than 25 cm tall. Individual flowers are approximately 4 mm across and are dark purplish-black, with two prominent petals pointing downwards. A flowering stem thus has a resemblance to a cluster of midge-like insects clinging to the top of the stem, hence the common name 'Midge Orchid' for this group of plants. Flowers appear from mid November to late December. Plants often produce a thin round erect non-flowering stem that resembles a seedling spring onion. Non-flowering plants can not be distinguished from other species in the genus Genoplesium.  Although the flowering and non-flowering stems are often referred to as 'leaves', technically the true leaf is reduced to a small  bract-like structure that is attached near the upper part of the plant's stem.  Genoplesium is a genus of relatively inconspicuous ground orchids with clustered spikes of dark-coloured flowers that are non-resupinate (i.e. they are ‘upside down’ relative to most other orchids) and have a single flat, not tubular, leaf. This leaf distinguishes them from the very similar genus Prasophyllum, the leek orchids, their closest relatives.


The East Lynne Midge Orchid is currently known from only a narrow belt, approximately 12 km wide, of predominantly Dry Sclerophyll Forest from north Moruya to 24 km north of Ulladulla. The species occurs primarily on National Park and Forests Corporation NSW estate.

Habitat and ecology

  • The East Lynne Midge Orchid grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest extending from close to the coast to the adjoining coastal ranges.
  • Confined to areas with well-drained shallow soils of low fertility, often occurring near the crests of ridges and on low rises where the ground cover is more open and sedge dominated rather then being shrubby.
  • Each plant produces a single leaf-like stem that emerges from an underground tuber. The orchid stems can appear from late October and take only a few weeks to produce flowers. Many stems that emerge do not produce flowers.
  • The species generally flowers between early November and mid December. The fruit then take several weeks to ripen.
  • The old fruiting stems (as well as non fruiting stems) then persist until late winter, at which time they wither and the plant dies back to a small, dormant underground tuber.
  • Has some limited ability to re-colonise previously disturbed sites.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known Clyde Catchment
Sydney BasinEttrema Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Predicted None