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New partnership saving Victoria’s orchids

A new partnership will see the Royal Botanic Gardens become Victoria’s largest centre for the conservation of rare and threatened orchids.

The Orchid Conservation Program, previously run by the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC), is responsible for the propagation and re-introduction of some of south-eastern Australia’s most threatened orchids. After many years of research and trials, the orchid propagation team led by Dr Noushka Reiter is one of the best in Australia.

The program and its staff will relocate from its current location in Horsham to the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne in December.

“The Royal Botanic Gardens has been involved in ex-situ terrestrial orchid propagation and growing since the early 1990s, with the endangered Rosella Spider-orchid, Caladenia rosella, one of the first orchids propagated and studied," explains Prof. Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive at the Royal Botanic Gardens. 

“Now, with the Orchid Conservation Program relocating to the Gardens, we’ll be able to greatly expand our existing conservation work and make a more significant contribution to saving Victoria’s rare and threatened orchids,” said Prof. Entwisle.

In anticipation of the move, the Gardens is converting an existing administration building into a dedicated conservation laboratory with tissue-culture capability to propagate and re-introduce threatened orchids.

A fundraising campaign has been established by ANPC with the aim of raising $66,000 to assist with the laboratory fit-out. Donations can be made towards the purchase of tissue culture equipment, growth rooms, microscopes and incubators via www.chuffed.org/project/save-our-threatened-orchids.