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Small potato orchid facts for kids

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Small potato orchid
Scientific classification

Gastrodia vescula, commonly known as small potato orchid, is a leafless terrestrial mycotrophic orchid in the family Orchidaceae. It has a very thin, brittle, light brown flowering stem with up to three pale brown flowers that are white on the inside. It is only known from a small area near the border between South Australia and Victoria.


Gastrodia vescula is a leafless terrestrial, mycotrophic herb that has a very thin, brittle pale brown flowering stem 50–200 cm (20–80 in) tall with up to three, mostly drooping, smooth light brown flowers. The sepals and petals are joined, forming a tube about 10–12 mm (0.4–0.5 in) long and white inside with the lobes about 2 mm (0.08 in) long. The labellum is about 9–11 mm (0.35–0.43 in) long, about 3 mm (0.12 in) wide with three lobes and completely enclosed in the tube. Flowering occurs from November to December.

Taxonomy and naming

Gastrodia vescula was first formally described in 1991 by David Jones from a specimen collected in a nature reserve near Mount Gambier in 1988. The description was published in Australian Orchid Research. The specific epithet (vescula) is a Latin word meaning "little" or "trifling" referring to the habit of this orchid.

Distribution and habitat

The small potato orchid is only known from small area in the far southeast of South Australia and far western Victoria where it grows in dense, heathy forest.

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