Geophytic flora of Wongan Hills Nature Reserve, southwestern Western Australia and

Kenneally 1977

Mediterranean-type climate
Mean annual rainfall 390 mm

Total vascular flora 409 spp.

Geophytic flora 33 spp. (= 8% of flora, consisting mainly of orchids)

Pauridia occidentalis 'ephemeral' (probably actually geophytic), damp areas of gulley, in woodland of Eucalyptus loxophleba over Acacia acuminata


Arthropodium capillipes 'ephemeral' (probably actually geophytic), damp red soil in woodland of Eucalyptus loxophleba over Acacia acuminata

Thysanotus patersonii widespread

Thysanotus sp. rare, hill slope


Caesia parviflora 'ephemeral' (probably actually geophytic), common in damp areas, in woodland of Eucalyptus loxophleba over Acacia acuminata and

Chamaescilla corymbosa damp red soil

Bulbine semibarbata 'ephemeral' (probably actually geophytic), red clay, in woodland of Eucalyptus loxophleba over Acacia acuminata


Wurmbea tenella damp ground

Wurmbea sp. red clay over greenstone rock


18 spp. occur here.
all occur on lateritic substrates, in kwongan vegetation, as well as alluvial soils in the gulley, and in woodland of Eucalyptus salmonophloia
Caladenia 8 spp.
Diuris 1 sp.
Eriochilus 1 sp.
Lyperanthus 1 sp.
Pterostylis 6 spp.
Thelymitra 1 sp.


Stylidium caricifolium laterite

Platysace cirrosa 'tuberous climber', tubers (diam. 5 cm) edible, on red soil of apron of breakaway
Platysace maxwellii kwongan


Drosera aff bulbosa greenstone scree
Drosera macrantha laterite
Drosera macrophylla damp red soil
Drosera menziesii kwongan
Drosera aff stolonifera kwongan
Drosera zonaria kwongan


Ptilotus spathulatus prostrate herb, common on alluvial substrates (is this geophytic?)

On yellow sand, there is tall shrubland of Acacia blakelyi and spp., Callitris arenaria, Banksia prionotes, Banksia attenuata, Hakea platysperma, Xylomelum angustifolium, Allocasuarina campestris, etc. This community contains 6 spp. of Drosera (including geophytes, e.g. D. menziesii), Thysanotus patersonii, and 'quite common' orchids, namely Caladenia 2 spp., Diuris longifolia (, Pterostylis recurva, and Lyperanthus nigricans.


Caesia is a genus shared among Australia, Madagascar, and the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. It is root-tuberous. However, the development of the tubers is minimal in C. parviflora.

Anigozanthos (Haemodoraceae) does not qualify as geophytic, because the above-ground parts do not die back to ground level in the dry season. Anigozanthis humilis is common in kwongan in Wongan Hills Nature Reserve.

This is an adequate reference for the lack of geophytes in succulent saline vegetation in Western Australia.

Posted on November 30, 2022 10:23 AM by milewski milewski


Moffett R O and Deacon H J (1977) The flora and vegetation in the surrounds of Boomplaas Cave: Cango Valley. South African Archaeological Bulletin 32: 127-145.

This area of limestone under a dry climate is relatively poor in geophytes, which constitute 8.3% of the flora of 397 spp.

Hypoxis is present, particularly Hypoxis villosa ( and in dense renosterveld.

Ochidaceae are scarce, and none was recorded in this study.

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago

In southern and southwestern Australia, there are many genera and spp. of orchids with (small) root-tubers, and nine with corms or bulbs.So, I was curious about the possible underground storage organs in or hide in another region of mediterranean-type climate, namely California.Cypripedium fibrous roots (habitat: forests and dry, open hillsides)Calypso bulbosa root-tubers (habitat: various vegetation types)Spiranthes root-tubers (habitat: marshy meadows, including at high altitudes)Peramium root-tubers and creeping rootstock (habitat: conifer forest)Epipactis creeping rootstock (habitat: streambanks)Listera fibrous creeping roots (habitat: moist, shady places in forests)Malaxis solid bulb (habitat: moist, high altitudes)Cephalanthera creeping rootstock (habitat: dense forests at high altitudes)Corallorrhiza non-green saprophyte or root-parasite

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago

Abott I (1982) The vascular flora of the Porongorup Range, south-western Australia. Western Australian Herbarium Research Notes 7: 1-16.

Total of 312 indigenous spp. including ferns

Geophytes 33 spp./311 spp. = 9.5%
Is Ophioglossum lusitanicum coriaceum a geophyte? (
Burchardia multiflora
Caesia parviflora
Chamaescilla corymbosa
Pauridia glabella
Pauridia occidentalis
Haemodorum spicatum
Thysanotus patersonii
Orchidaceae 18 spp.
Philydrella pygmaea

(Wurmbea not recorded)

Tricoryne humilis (geophytic despite tiny size)
Lagenophora huegelii

Drosera erythrorhiza
Drosera menziesii
(most congeners here are not geophytic: glanduligera, pallida, pulchella, subhirtella)

Pelargonium australe
Stylidium crassifolium geophytic

(most congeners here not geophytic: adnatum, amoenum, breviscapum, brunonianum, calcaratum, corymbosum, and repens

(Ptilotus not recorded)

Tuberous but not geophytic:
Xanthosia rotundifolia
Clematis pubescens

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago

ENEABBA AREA (,_Western_Australia)

Hopkins A J M and Hnatiuk R J (1981) An ecological survey of the kwongan south of Eneabba, Western Australia. Wild. Res. Bull. West. Aust. 9: 1-33. Dep't of Fisheries and Wildlife, Perth.

GEOPHYTES (about 5% of local flora):

Thysanotus patersonii
Arnocrinum preissii
Burchardia umbellata
Caesia rigidifolia
Drosera 4 spp.
Haemodorum sp.
Philydrella pygmaea
Wurmbea dioica
Orchids including Caladenia, Elythranthera, Thelymitra, Pterostylis, and Microstylis

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago


Griffin E A, Hopkins A J M, and Hnatiuk R J (1983) Vegetatio 52: 103-127.

Geophytes on LATERITE (at most 5% of local flora of 317 spp.):

Ptilotus manglesii
Thysanotus patersonii
Drosera macrantha
Drosera heterophylla
Drosera erythrorhiza
Drosera stolonifera
Chamaescilla corymbosa
Orchids including:
Prasophyllum parvifolium
Thelymitra villosa
Pterostylis vittata
Elythranthera brunonis

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago

Brown and Hopkins (1983), Australian Journal of Ecology 8: 63-73

Tutanning Nature Reserve (

GEOPHYTES (at least 10% of local flora of 315 spp., except on laterite, where only 6/118 spp., i.e. 5%):

Pauridia glabella
Burchardia umbellata
Thysanotus patersonii
Thysanotus thyrsoideus (possibly)
Chamaescilla corymbosa (possibly)
Chamaescilla spiralis (possibly)
Sowerbaea laxiflora
Stylidium caricifolium
Drosera zonaria
Orchids including:
Pterostylis sargentii
Pterostylis rufa
Pterostylis nana
Pterostylis vittata
Caladenia flava
Caladenia longicauda
Caladenia discoidea
Caladenia roei
Caladenia menziesii
Caladenia sp.

Burchardia umbellata
Chamaescilla corymbosa
Chamaescilla spiralis
Caesia parviflora
Sowerbaea laxiflora
Drosera erythrorhiza
Drosera zonaria
Stylidium petiolaris
Stylidium caricifolium
Wurmbea pygmaea
Pauridia glabella
Thysanotus patersonii
Thysanotus thyrsoideus
Orchids including:
Caladenia 8 spp.
Pterostylis nana
Pterostylis vittata
Elythranthera brunonis
Diuris longifolia

Stylidium carnosum
Stylidium caricifolium
Thysanotus patersonii
Pterostylis nana
Pterostylis vittata

Posted by milewski over 1 year ago

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