Help save South East Australia’s unique and threatened orchids!

By Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc.


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Help save South East Australia’s unique and threatened orchids! Funds are urgently needed to ‘fit out’ a conservation laboratory to propagate and grow threatened orchids for reintroduction now and into the future!

Australian Network for Plant Conservation's Orchid Conservation Program partners with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
The ANPC’s Orchid Conservation Program focuses on the ex-situ growth and reintroduction of many of south eastern Australia’s threatened orchids. The program is currently leasing laboratory facilities and equipment but needs to set up its own laboratory facilities including tissue culture capability to ensure the long term future for the conservation program. By donating towards this cause you will directly contribute to the purchasing of tissue culture equipment, growth rooms, microscopes and incubators that will be used to continue this invaluable orchid conservation work. Help make this dream a reality.

The Orchid Conservation Program is currently the only means by which these orchid species can be propagated in sufficient numbers to significantly reduce the threat of them becoming extinct in the wild. Research over the last 15 years has led to advancement that can now show where the wasps live and how to reintroduce the mycorrhizal fungi with the orchids to enable successful reintroductions of these species.

Check out the article in the AGE on our project below
Crowdfunding bid to save Victorian orchids http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/crowdfunding-bi... via @theage

In 2012, the program managed by ANPC Ecologist Dr Noushka Reiter funded through the Wimmera CMA, Australian Orchid Foundation and volunteers undertook Australia’s first large-scale conservation reintroduction of an endangered orchid species the Metallic Sun-orchid Thelymitra epipactoides, of which only 30 were left in the Wimmera and little more than 1000 remain in the wild. It was the first federally-endangered species to benefit from years of laboratory research into propagation and mycorrhizal associations. 1500 Metallic Sun-orchids were reintroduced in south-western Victoria. Last winter a further 400 orchids, known for flowering in a variety of vibrant metallic colours such as red, blue, purple, green and yellow, went into the ground. In July 2013 the program introduced the Brilliant Sun-orchid Thelymitra mackibbinii (down to less than 50 in the wild). The success rate on reintroducing this species, monitored this July, has been 92 % the highest of all the reintroductions to date.

Over the last 18 months the program has also propagated thousands of seedlings and reintroduced federally threatened orchids to over ten sites in Victoria. In addition, demand for the services of the program has increased dramatically over this time, as the program has successfully shown it can make tangible differences to the future of these threatened plants.

Picture: Orchid seedlings of the Nationally Endangered McIver Spider-orchid Caladenia audasii being grown in petri-dishes with fungi for future reintroduction.

The aim of the program over the next 5-15 years is to reduce the likelihood of extinction of nationally threatened orchids in south east Australia. Each of the species has a Recovery Plan which we intend to help implement.

The program has partnered with many fantastic organisations over the last few years including the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Trust for Nature, Hindmarsh Landcare, Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Universities, Australian National Botanic Gardens, South Australian Government, Office of Environment and Heritage N.S.W and CSIRO.

Picture: Australasian Native Orchid Society volunteer hands planting the Nationally Endangered Yellow-lip Spider-orchid Caladenia xanthochila.

The program works closely with community groups and is active in the orchid specialist group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Local organisations involved in the Orchid Conservation Program include:
  • Field Naturalists
  • The Australasian Native Orchid Society
  • Friends of the Grampians
  • Friends of the Little Desert
  • and many other individuals and community groups

Picture: The Nationally Vulnerable Spiral Sun-orchid Thelymitra matthewsii.

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. Of the 400 orchid species in Victoria, half are threatened with extinction including 43 Nationally listed species Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). Orchids represent a significant proportion of all rare and threatened flora in Australia.

With over 100 genera of orchids in Australia, the majority of which are unique to Australia, it is impossible to cover the diversity here but those that stand out are:
  • the Greenhoods (Pterostylis) with their arching green and white galeas (a hood formed by the fusion of the petals and a sepal) (which look like something out of a fairy story) mostly flowering in winter, trapping unsuspecting fungal gnats to pollinate them.
  • the Spider-orchids (Caladenia) are the sirens of the orchid world – bright, showy and alluring using several means to attract their pollinators.
  • the Sun-orchids (Thelymitra), often with their multiple flowers resembling lilies, growing in some cases to over one meter tall and as their name suggests, opening on sunny days.
  • the Duck-orchids (Paracaleana and Caleana) are the sexual deviants of the orchid world employing entirely sexual deception in order to attract their pollinators.
  • the bizarre underground orchids (Rhizanthella) a cryptic genus living entirely underground, whose seed distributed by bandicoots.

Picture: The Nationally Vulnerable Elegant Spider-orchid Caladenia formosa.

All Australian terrestrial orchids rely on a specific ‘type’ of mycorrhizal fungi to germinate and sustain their growth throughout their life-cycle and many are pollinated by their own unique species of pollinator. Loss of the pollinator or lack of the mycorrhizal fungus can have disastrous consequences.

The term mycorrhizal simply means ‘fungus root’, which describes the usually symbiotic association between the fungi and the roots of the plants, with the fungi assisting in the absorption of minerals and water from the soil, while the plant provides carbohydrates to the fungi. The degree of dependence on the mycorrhiza varies, with most orchids having the ability to draw energy via their chlorophyll, however, some terrestrial orchids have taken this relationship to a point where they no longer have chlorophyll and derive all their nutrients from their fungal partner as is the case in many Hyacinth- orchids (Dipodiums) and the anomalous underground orchids (Rhizanthella).

There are many ways in which Australian terrestrial orchids are pollinated. Some pollinate themselves but the majority require a third party to transfer the pollinia (aggregated packets of pollen) from one plant to another. Many species are yet to have their pollination syndromes described. Some orchids provide a food reward of nectar or pollen to an insect and in feeding the insect effects pollination. Others are food mimics where the orchid involved mimics a food rewarding plant such as a lily and in so doing dupes the pollinator into providing a hand - this is prevalent in the Sun-orchids. One of the more interesting pollination syndromes in Australia is sexual deception. The male thynnine wasp is drawn to the orchids by pheromones released from parts of the flower, the males copulate with the labellum (thinking it is the female wasp) of the flower and in so doing transmits the pollen from one plant to another. These sexually deceptive relationships can be very specific and in many cases a single species of orchid is pollinated by a single species of wasp. To make the situation more interesting these wasps are rely on the larvae of beetles to sustain their own offspring.

  • Orchids are important for monitoring the health of the bushland, therefore any research in this area is going to benefit all of the bushland and so we are happy to support this project. Orchids are certainly worth preserving in their own right - they are so beautiful. Heritage Bushcare SA

    by Heritage at 2014-10-25 16:57:56

  • Campaign Update

    A Big thank you to the wonderful James Radford for your support. Warm Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-10-11 08:04:06

  • Campaign Update

    We would like to thank Emma Mann, Mathew Appleby and Gayle Osborne for their generous donations. Kind Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-10-09 08:11:10

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you to Helen Hewson for your donation most appreciated.

    by Jo at 2014-09-30 19:15:30

  • Campaign Update

    A warm thank you to Charles Young for his generous donation. Thank you

    by Jo at 2014-09-30 19:13:27

  • Campaign Update

    A Big thank you to the Western Australian Native Orchid Society for their generous donation of $500. Kind Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-09-22 10:43:04

  • Campaign Update

    A warm thank you to Mary L Rogan for her contribution towards our orchid conservation equipment.

    by Jo at 2014-09-03 20:03:54

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you to ANOS Mackay & District Group Inc for their donation, most welcome.

    by Jo at 2014-08-31 17:37:52

  • Campaign Update

    We would like to thank Cathrine Harboe-Ree for her wonderful donation.

    by Jo at 2014-08-31 14:21:53

  • Campaign Update

    Dear supporters a big thank you to the generous and caring Anne Virginia Morrison and Francis Henry. I hope this program will ensure many more generations get to experience the wonders of our unique orchids.

    by Jo at 2014-08-30 20:43:24

  • As a child growing up surrounded by bush I was constantly delighted by the terristrial or hids

    by Anne Virginia at 2014-08-30 11:31:11

  • Campaign Update

    Dear supporters we would like to thank Chris Banfield and his generous donation towards our orchid conservation equipment it is most welcomed.

    by Jo at 2014-08-26 19:11:54

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you to Norman Mckinlay for your generous donation.

    by Jo at 2014-08-25 11:08:45

  • A big warm hug from all orchids to Ben Aalbers, Gordon Leckie, Tricia Hogbin and Cameron Ashwood. Thank you for your donations.

    by Noushka at 2014-08-20 11:03:09

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you to Russell Stanley and Wilma Checkley who have generously donated towards our orchid conservation equipment, most appreciated. Warm Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-08-18 18:38:41

  • Campaign Update

    On the 8th day of our campaign we would very much like to thank generous donations from Warri Oviedo and Nicola Williams.

    by Jo at 2014-08-17 12:20:59

  • Campaign Update

    On this our fifth day of our campaign, we would like to thank Gregory Rose, Angela Smyth and Alice Whyllie for their generous donations. Everyone keep sharing our story, your support is encouraging and appreciated.

    by Jo at 2014-08-14 20:15:31

  • Campaign Update

    Dear Supporters, we would like to thank for their wonderful donations today, Rosemary Appleton, Edward Brentall, Debra Saxon-Campbell, Robyn Healy, Anna O'Brien, James Garden, Lesha Perkins and several anonymous donors. Warm Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-08-13 20:12:44

  • Campaign Update

    For all our supporters and followers, checking the progress of this campaign, you may have noticed our amount raised dropped considerably overnight. This was due to an honest mistake by a large donor who accidentally entered the wrong donation amount on Sunday they have been refunded.

    by Jo at 2014-08-13 11:43:32

  • Fantastic cause and very well thought out guys - top work.

    by Aaron at 2014-08-12 21:33:16

  • Campaign Update

    Dear Supporters, we would like to thank Ian Perkins, Dee Parfrey, Jo Lynch, Bernadette Thomas, Varena Hardy and Arthur O/Brien for their contributions towards our new equipment. Every day of this campaign is seeing new essential items for this conservation laboratory become a reality. All supporters will be listed on the entrance to our new lab, a reminder that Australians are wonderful giving and environmentally responsible. Chat soon, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-08-12 18:20:22

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you Mark Freestone your support is most welcome.

    by Jo at 2014-08-11 20:50:46

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you Alison Borchers, Peter Nicholson, Linda Domaschenz, Georgina Whitehead, Catherine Tenni, Andrew Dilley, Jim Lord, Deidre Roosen, Arien Quin, Georgina Simmons, Bruce Stewart, Mark Axton, Steve and Lani Castan, Jim Fraser, Heidi Fitzsimmons, Lucinda Franklin, Kirstin Vine, Kim Durban and Samantha Forbes. The endangered orchids of south east Aus say thank you for your support

    by Jo at 2014-08-11 14:28:20

  • Campaign Update

    Dear Supporters, If you would like to become a team member, and help spread the word for people to donate to this great cause, let me know and I will add you to our team. Kind Regards, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-08-11 14:19:14

  • Fantastic work guys!!

    by Samantha at 2014-08-11 13:19:15

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you John Marsden your donation is greatly apreciated

    by Jo at 2014-08-11 09:36:17

  • Campaign Update

    A big thank you to Afton Johnston and Robbie Bates

    by Jo at 2014-08-10 20:42:26

  • Campaign Update

    Thank you to everyone for supporting and donating on this our very exciting first day. We almost have enough money for our first laminar flow, a very essential piece of equipment. Please share the link to this project with as many people as you can, the more that are aware the better. talk soon, Noushka

    by Jo at 2014-08-10 17:29:57

  • Great to see Noush. Fingers crossed for you and the campaign.

    by Linda at 2014-08-10 08:49:11

  • G

    by Linda at 2014-08-10 08:47:04

  • Glad to see someone is actually putting the environment back to the way it was before we stuffed it up.

    by Mark at 2014-08-10 05:34:32

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Team Members

Jo Lynch

Julie Whitfield

Noushka Reiter


Raised of $66,970

Help save South East Australia’s unique threatened orchids! Funds are urgently needed to ‘fit out’ a conservation laboratory to propagate and reintroduce threatened orchids now and into the future!

Jo Lynch           Canberra, ACT

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Laminar Flow 1


Floor Autoclave


Ph meter




Bench Autoclave


Laminar Flow 2


Laminar Flow 3


Mycorrhizal Fungi Incubator


Refridgerator/Freezer to store seed


Vacuum Pump to filter seed


Water Filtration System


Tissue Culture Growth Room


Shade House and benches


Drying Cabinet


Analytical balance

This campaign started on August 9, 9:51 am and will end on November 7, 9:51 am.