Rare orchid found in Marcoola
  • Wednesday 21 December 2011

When Sunshine Coast Council met with local people to talk about a Master Plan for Keith Royal Park in Marcoola, the existence of a rare orchid on site was yet to be discovered.

Betty Sykes, a local conservationist discovered the rare Bonnet orchid (Cryptostylis erecta) in the park. The find led to a change to the plan for the park and its ongoing maintenance program.

Division 8 Councillor Debbie Blumel said it was an exciting discovery for local people when the orchid was found.

"It was such an unexpected find in a small patch of wallum vegetation at the park," Cr Blumel said.

"Local people were really eager for council to take swift action to put conservation measures in place to protect the site where the orchid was found.

"And that’s exactly what we did.

"Council was already working in the park as part of the implementation of the Master Plan. Works included an upgrade to the playground, the establishment of an enclosed dog off leash area and the installation of a cricket pitch, shelter structure and barbeque.

"But with the discovery we also wanted to give the orchid a designated area and ideal conditions in which to flourish. That’s why we installed posts and rails to protect the area where the orchid was found.

"Council has also changed its general mowing schedule and now there won’t be any mowing in the patch where the orchid will hopefully be able to regenerate.

"Council has recently finished installing interpretive signage that gives local people information about the rare orchid and the wallum vegetation of the area.

"It’s important that locals and visitors are still able to explore the park and we hope that the information provided will create awareness about the significant conservation values in the area."