Orchid Conservation Program

Australia is home to more than 1800 species of orchid, the majority of which are terrestrial. Victoria has more than 400 species of native orchid, with many occurring nowhere else. Unfortunately, many of our native orchids are at risk of extinction; 17% of all nationally threatened plants in Australia are orchids, more than any other plant family. The declines are the result of historic land clearing, introduced weeds, grazing by introduced animals and illegal poaching. Reduced population numbers mean many species are now vulnerable to inbreeding depression, the effects of climate change, and inappropriate fire regimes.

The Orchid Conservation Program at RBGV is now the largest orchid conservation program of its kind in the world. This collaboration between the Gardens and the Australian Network for Plant Conservation has resulted in over 50 reintroductions of more than 20 species of endangered native orchids across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, involving tens of thousands of individual plants.