Endangered orchid’s journey of recovery

Sep 18, 2017Landcare, Research, Threatened Species

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.

Dwarf Spider-orchid (Caladenia pumila) in flower at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

 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 and Chris
From left: Neil Anderton (Australian Native Orchid Society) and Chris Jenek (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria) with the flowering Dwarf Spider-orchid

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.”

For more information go to:

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