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Gastrodia sesamoides - R.Br.

Common Name Potato Orchid
Family Orchidaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open forest and scrub from the coast to the sub-alpine zone, mainly north of latitude 42°s, in the North and South Islands of New Zealand[44].
Range Australia, New Zealand.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Gastrodia sesamoides Potato Orchid


R J Saddington
Gastrodia sesamoides Potato Orchid
R J Saddington

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Gastrodia sesamoides is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft). The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or cooked. It resembles a beetroot in flavour but is watery and insipid[46, 61, 144, 173]. The root can be up to 15cm long and 4cm thick[193]. Leaves. Eaten by the Australian Aborigines in Tasmania[193].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

References

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FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. A saprophytic herb, it is without green parts and is entirely dependant upon a fungus for its nutriment[144, 238]. This makes it very difficult to cultivate outside its native range. As well as its fungal host, it also requires a damp humus-rich soil in a sheltered woodland position[238]. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid[230].

References

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Propagation

Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[200]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant[1].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gastrodia cunninghamii Perennial1.0 -  LMHFSM20 
Gastrodia elataTien MaPerennial1.0 5-9  LMHFSM23 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

R.Br.

Botanical References

44265

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Mal Rickarby   Wed Dec 31 2008

Leaves can't be eaten. Propagation is near impossible as this unusual plant coexists with at least three types of fungi, on which it is dependent. It is also a protected plant by law in its natural habitat.

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Subject : Gastrodia sesamoides  
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