Article Index

Queen of Sheba orchid

Queen of Sheba orchid (Thelymitra variegata)
Photo © Andrew Brown/Parks and Wildlife

This volunteer program—in which participants ‘adopt’ a species of orchid and collect valuable information about it—could help save highly threatened species.

Parks and Wildlife’s monitoring and survey program for threatened and poorly known (priority) flora is prioritised to threatened plants.

  • Less time is available to monitor and survey priority plant species.
  • These species are often known from few locations and may be under threat but require further information to accurately ascertain their conservation status.
  • Some 38 orchid species fit into this category and could potentially be highly threatened.

The Adopt an Orchid project was born out of the WA Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group’s  desire to help the department obtain better and up-to-date population, threat and survey information for priority orchid species.

This way, there can be more certainty of their conservation status, including threats and necessary recovery actions and can better manage and protect them.

The Group and Parks and Wildlife each have an Adopt an Orchid coordinator to oversee the project, and individuals or small groups of up to six volunteers have been enlisted to monitor and survey specific priority orchid species.

Further information

Species and Communities Program
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: (08) 9219 9511


What is a Priority orchid?

Volunteers only adopt Priority One, Two and Three species. Priority Four species do not require urgent monitoring and survey.

Priority One orchids are known from one or a few collections or sight records (generally less than five), all on lands not managed for conservation. These species may be comparatively well known from one or more localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and appear to be under immediate threat from known threatening processes.

Priority Two orchids are known from one or a few collections or sight records (generally less than five), some of which are on lands not under imminent threat of habitat destruction or degradation, e.g. national parks and other conservation reserves. Species may be comparatively well known from one or more localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and appear to be under threat from known threatening processes.

Priority Three orchids are known from collections or sight records from several localities not under imminent threat, or from few but widespread localities with either large population size or significant remaining areas of apparently suitable habitat, much of it not under imminent threat. Species may be comparatively well known from several localities but do not meet adequacy of survey requirements and known threatening processes exist that could affect them.

Priority Four orchids are rare species considered to have been adequately surveyed, or for which sufficient knowledge is available, and that are considered not currently threatened or in need of special protection, but could be if present circumstances change.


Achievements so far

Start's spider orchid (Caladenia starteorum).
Photo © H Winfield
  • 58 participants have 'adopted' 31 orchid species ranging from Kalbarri to Esperance.
  • 240 populations of priority orchids have been visited and monitored.
  • More than 100 flowering plants of northern darting spider orchid (Caladenia uliginosa subsp. patulens P1) were found in an area where just three were located previously, and a new population of 60 flowering plants was discovered in State Forest. 
  • A population of Start's spider orchid (Caladenia startiorum P2) that had not been seen for many years was relocated and flowering plants found.
  • New populations of coastal spider orchid (Caladenia abbreviata P3), crested spider orchid (Caladenia cristata P1), late white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. extrema P1), lemon spider orchid (Caladenia luteola DRF), slender sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia perangusta P2), Island Point spider orchid (Caladenia swartsiorum P1), fragrant china orchid (Cyanicula fragrans P3), Alcock’s duck orchid (Paracaleana alcockii P2), slender leafed duck orchid (Paracaleana gracilicordata P1) and Jackson's sun orchid (Thelymitra jacksonii P3) were located.

The program is fun and rewarding.

  • Participants get to see some of our rarest orchids growing in their natural habitat and interact with other orchid enthusiasts.
  • Some adoptees have located new populations of some of our rarest priority orchid species.
  • Even when new populations have not been located, the information obtained is invaluable and will result in positive actions being undertaken to protect and conserve these species.

Further resources

Information sheets

News from volunteers

Books

Contact us

Species and Communities Program
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: (08) 9219 9511