Australian Native Terrestrial Orchids

Reminder:    The majority of Australian Native Orchids are on the endangered list .
So it is everyone's responsibility to help protect and reserve the species .

Collection from the wild is illegal, but plants are available from specialist nurseries.
Orchid mycorrhizae are symbiotic relationships between the roots of plants of the family Orchidaceae and a variety of fungi
Caleana major, the Flying Duck Orchid, is a small orchid found in eastern and southern Australia.
This terrestrial plant features a remarkable flower, resembling a duck in flight. The flower is an attractant to insects, such as male sawflies.  Flowering occurs from September to January.

Caleana  has been difficult to maintain in cultivation. Plants flower for one or sometimes two years but progressively weaken until they die
Large flowers with narrow spreading segments, this genus consist of about 150 spp. endemic in Australia.
They have small tubers partly encased in a fibrous a heath, a single relatively narrow, hairy leaf and unusual flowers. Reproduction is solely from seed sown at the base of the parent plant.


These orchids are generally difficult and resent disturbance.
The plants grow from autumn to late spring and die back to dormant tubes over summer.

Six spp. of deciduous terrestrials that form colonies in Southern Australia.
They have small  tubers partly encased in a fibrous sheath, a single relatively narrow hairy leaf and colourful flowers.


These orchids are generally difficult and resent disturbance.
The plants grow from autumn to late spring and die back to dormant tubes over summer.

Of the 60 spp. in this colony-forming genus, the vast majority are endemic to Australia with
three occurring in New Zealand. The plants are dimorphic, the sterile plants consisting solely
of a leafy rosette, and the flowering plants having a leafy stem without a rosette.


These orchids adapt well cultivation but will flower only from the larger tubes.

The 65 this genus all but one from Timor, are native to Australia.
They have relatively large tubers, one or more narrow leaves and an erect
raceme of coulourful flowers.


Fairly easy to grow but most only increase slowly.

The flowers of these orchids only open fully on hot sunny days. There are about 85 of the 100 spp in this genus that occur in Australia. They have relatively large tubers, a single narrow leaf and an erect raceme of colourful flowers.
A few man-made hybrids are available.


Fairly easy to grow but most only increase slowly.

Information from "Starting out with Orchids by David L. Jones"
Diuris chrysantha 

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to listDiuris sp. aff.chrysantha (Byron Bay) (D.L. Jones ORG 2761), an orchid, as an ENDANGERED SPECIES on Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act. Listing is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

Diuris sp. aff.chrysantha (Byron Bay) (D.L. Jones ORG 2761) was provisionally listed as an endangered species on Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Act.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1.Diuris sp. aff.chrysantha (Byron Bay) (D.L. Jones ORG 2761), a donkey orchid, is a distinct taxon, distinguishable fromDiuris chrysantha on the basis of labellum shape and smaller flowers. It is possible that early records of Diuris abbreviata from the Byron Bay area are Diuris sp. aff. chrysantha.

2. The species is currently known in New South Wales from a single population of less than 100 plants.

3. The species has been reduced in extent of geographical distribution by loss or modification of habitat. The single known population is threatened by loss of habitat from residential subdivision.

4. In view of 2 and 3 above the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that the species is likely to become extinct in nature in New South Wales unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate.
Glossodia minor, the Small Waxlip Orchid is a small terrestrial orchid, found in eastern Australia.
Usually found near the coast, often in heathland growing on sandstone based soils. It may grow from 5 to 16 cm (2-6.4 in) tall.
One or two flowers appear in winter or spring. They are rarely white, but more often a pink, violet, rosy pink or bluish purple. The single leaf is parallel to the ground, 2 to 4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) long, and broad lanceolate in shape.
The leaf and stem are noticeably hairy. This plant first appeared in scientific literature in 1810, in the Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae authored by the prolific Scottish botanist, Robert Brown. Glossodia minor is found along the eastern coastline of Australia in Queensland and New South Wales, where it reaches as far west as Temora. It is also found in Victoria west to Marlot
Lyperanthus suaveolens
commonly called brown beaks, is a species of orchid which is endemic to the eastern states of Australia
L. serratus is a tuberous, perennial herb, 18-44 centimetres (7.1-17.3 in) high with 2 to 8 yellowish brown, brown or dark reddish brown flowers, about 3 centimetres (1.2 in) wide, from August to November. The flowers are sometimes fragrant in warm weather. The single leaf is linear to sword-shaped, 12-26 centimetres (4.7-10.2 in) long and up to 1.2 centimetres (0.47 in) wide, leathery with a dark upper and pale lower surface.
Species: Erythrorchis cassythoides
Black Bootlace Orchid
Erythrorchis cassythoides (Galeola cassythoides)
A fascinating climbing orchid.

It’s a plant with no leaves at all, and is of the kind that is often called a “saprophyte”. A plant, fungus, or micro organism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter

Most of the world’s plants need Chlorophyll it's what makes leaves green. It’s a substance that is essential for photosynthesis, the process which is the plant equivalent of eating. Photosynthesis uses solar power to combine carbon (taken from carbon dioxide in the air) with hydrogen (from water, which is made of hydrogen and oxygen) to make carbohydrates.

The Australian bootlace orchid, however, has nothing green about it. Its rather evil-looking black bootlace stems come up from roots which are getting all the food the plant needs by being parasitic on certain soil fungi. Orchid mycorrhizae are symbiotic relationships between the roots of plants of the family Orchidaceae and a variety of fungi. The fungi, in turn, are growing on dead plant matter. The term “saprophyte” comes from sapro (decay) and phyte (plant).

Nowadays, however, the term is falling out of use, because it is now understood that the alleged saprophytes are really living on the soil fungi, which are themselves living on the decayed matter, Strictly speaking the plants are not saprophytes, but “myco-heterotrophs”

Bootlace orchids climb up the trunks of their trees with these spongy, water-absorbing roots. For most of the year the plants are quite inconspicuous, but in spring they put out a great show of flowers.

They are closely related to a Mexican climbing orchid, Vanilla planifolia, the source of the vanilla we use for flavouring. You can see the bootlace orchid’s seed pod, which appears, does look rather like a vanilla pod

Grow up to 6 meters high with long pendulous panicles in spring. (August in Noosa)