Native bloom

Photo supplied.
Photo supplied.

An orchid which only flowers once every three years is in bloom at the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

Wildlife keeper Ali McDonald said she and another staff member noticed the orchid a couple of weeks ago and set out to discover the plant's name.

She said the orchid was native, although not threatened, and bore the common name of potato orchid, the scientific name of Gastrodia ''long column'' and the Maori name of Huperei.

The orchid is symbiotic, which means it lives with a close association to another species, the fungus Armillaria mellea, which is a tree-root parasite.

Light is not required for the orchid's survival and it does not have leaves.

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