Endangered orchid's journey of recovery

September 18, 2017

It’s been a long journey for staff and volunteers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to save the Dwarf Spider-orchid (Caladenia pumila).

Two Dwarf Spider-orchid plants were rediscovered near Geelong in 2009, having not been seen for 83 years and thought extinct. The Dwarf Spider-orchid has now been successfully grown from seed at  the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne with the emergence of the very first flower bud this past week - testament to the efforts of the team working tirelessly over the past eight years to secure this species.

 There is still however, much work to be done. "The journey to recover this Dwarf Spider-orchid to the point where it is self-sustainable has just begun and may take up to ten years." Chris Jenek - Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Horticulturist.

Neil Anderton of the Australian  Native Orchid Society said: “We have faced many challenges along the way including inbred seeds as small as a dust particle, discovering the right conditions for germination to occur and then, being able to successfully transfer such a delicate seedling into a pot to grow. Getting this species to produce its first bud is momentous."

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This project is supported by Corangamite CMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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