Biogeography of Caladenia (Orchidaceae), with special reference to the South-west Australian Floristic Region

R.D. Phillips, G. Backhouse, A.P. Brown, Stephen Hopper

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Caladenia contains 376 species and subspecies, of which almost all are endemic to temperate and southern semiarid Australia. Eleven species occur in New Zealand, 10 of which are endemic, and one species is widely distributed in eastern Australia and the western Pacific. Only three species occur in both south-western and south-eastern Australia. At subgeneric level, Drakonorchis is endemic to the South-west Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR), Stegostyla to eastern Australia and New Zealand, whereas three subgenera, Calonema, Phlebochilus and Elevatae occur on both sides of the Nullarbor Plain. Subgenus Caladenia is primarily eastern Australian but also extends to the western Pacific. The largest subgenera (Calonema and Phlebochilus) have radiated extensively, with Calonema exhibiting a greater concentration of species in more mesic parts of the SWAFR than Phlebochilus. Within the SWAFR, the major biogeographic division within Caladenia follows the 600-mm isohyet. Within rainfall zones, biogeographic districts for Caladenia correlate with a combination of underlying geology and surface soils. Areas of high endemism contain diverse edaphic environments. Climatic and edaphic requirements are likely to be key drivers of rarity in Caladenia, although these parameters may be acting in concert with mycorrhizal and pollinator specificity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-275
    JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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