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The ANPC Orchid Conservation Program


The ANPC is proud to announce the launch of its Orchid Conservation Program. The program focuses on the management, ex-situ propagation and reintroduction of threatened orchids, particularly across south eastern Australia.

The Orchid Conservation Program has a long history and recently transitioned to the ANPC from Wimmera Catchment Management Authority in Victoria. The program is working in partnership with: The Wimmera CMA (funded through Caring for our Country), Mallee CMA, North Central Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Port Phillip DEPI, North East DEPI, South Australian Government, NSW Department of Environment and Heritage, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Alcoa/Portland Aluminium, Hindmarsh Landcare Network, Australian Orchid Foundation, IUCN orchid specialist group, Trust for Nature, Parks Victoria and private landholders to propagate and reintroduce threatened orchids.

1. Volunteers Josie Carrigan and Richard Thomson from the Australasian Native Orchid Society planting Metallic Sun orchids (Thelymitra mackibbinii) in Little Desert National Park. 2. Supplementation of Desert Greenhood (Pterostylis xerophila) with Peter Kiernan from the Australasian Native Orchid Society. Credits: Noushka Reiter

Numerous community groups have also contributed to the success of the program and the ANPC looks forward to continuing these collaborations. In particular, local groups involved in the Orchid Conservation Program include: Field Naturalists, Victorian Group of the Australasian Native Orchid Society, Friends of the Grampians, Friends of the Little Desert and many other individuals and community groups.

The laboratory and nursery facility in Horsham is able to propagate orchids in the thousands. All Australian terrestrial orchids rely on a specific type’ of mycorrhizal fungi to germinate and sustain their growth throughout their lifecycle and many are pollinated by their own unique species of pollinator. Research over the last 15 years has improved orchid propagation and translocation techniques, enabling us to identify where the necessary pollinators live and also capture and grow the required mycorrhizal fungi.

Without a successful translocation program program, many of the threatened orchid species we are working on are likely to become extinct.


Two threatened NSW native orchids have recently been germinated symbiotically for the very first time. They are the Crimson Spider-orchid (Caladenia concolor) and the Sand-hill Spider-orchid (Caladenia arenaria). The ANPC is germinating the orchids for reintroduction trials to be undertaken next year in the state’s south west by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), funded through the NSW Government’s new Saving Our Species (SOS) program.
ABC Radio Goulburn Murray 4/4/14
Town and Country Magazine 7/4/14

Three Victorian threatened native orchids - the McIvor Spider-orchid (Caladenia audasii), the Bendigo Spider-orchid (Caladenia sp. aff. fragranitissima) and the Stuart Mill Spider-orchid (Caladenia cretaceae) have also recently been successfully germinated.  These seedlings will eventually be reintroduced back into the wild as part of a translocation project being implemented by the Loddon Mallee Region of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Amaryllis Environmental. (Media release).
ABC Rural 11/4/14 (includes audio)

Caladenia audasii (McIvor Spider-orchid) Credit: Julie Whitfield. Caladenia audasii germinations Credit: Noushka Reiter.

Native Orchids in Australia

Australia has a higher proportion of orchids than any other temperate region of the world, with over 1700 species recorded. The majority of these are terrestrial (ground dwelling). Yet regrettably, 25% of global orchid extinctions have occurred on our continent.

Principally these extinctions are due to large scale changes in our environment over the past 200 years as a result of land clearing, land degradation and the introduction of weeds and rabbits to our continent. Many populations exist in uncertain environments, such as on private land, in roadside / rail reserves or on public land subjected to fuel reduction burning regimes. Of the 400 orchid species in Victoria, half are threatened with extinction, with 43 species listed on the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). Orchids also represent a significant proportion of all threatened flora in Australia.