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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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Gastrodia sesamoides Potato Orchid


R J Saddington
Gastrodia sesamoides Potato Orchid
R J Saddington
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Gastrodia sesamoides is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have 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.

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].
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
Other Uses
None known
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].
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
Found In
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 :
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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
 
Elizabeth H.
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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