Click on the photos to check the identification of these locals

Our native orchids are truly fascinating.  They are so easily overlooked yet when noticed, and closely inspected, their delicacy, structure and colours are astonishingly beautiful. They are a great gateway to the world of ‘macro-nature’ and get us on our knees and into the world of the spiders, insects and other plants that live close to the earth, ‘below knee-height’.

The Co-op and Bend of Islands are ‘orchid rich’, although it takes a lot of searching to appreciate the full extent of this richness. Most species only appear for a fleeting few weeks a year. Many reappear in the same location each year, others are much more elusive.

Finding Orchids on the Co-op

An Orchid List for the Bend of Islands (small .pdf), with specific reference to the Co-op, has been compiled from all known previous records and includes all appropriate information for an ‘official list’. The list is based in the taxonomy used in Jones 2006.

To facilitate local use the Bend of Islands Annual Orchid Record can also be downloaded. This is a single page list with common names in alphabetical order and with reference to the old Co-op Orchid Field Guide numbers. It is for easy use in the field and as a monthly record of the species observed each year.

The Work of Dean Rouse

We are indeed lucky that Dean Rouse spent a considerable time, in his youth, combing the Co-op and surrounding area with his grandmother, Hazel Rich, who was a member of the Co-op for many years.  Dean photographed 50+ species and later donated the photos to the Co-op to form the basis of the ‘Field Guide to the Orchids of Round the Bend Conservation Co-operative’ which has been available since 1999.

Over the last few years a small group of local enthusiasts have been searching the area, trying to find the species listed.  In doing this we have found a few other species to add to the list.

In 2007 Dean produced a regional orchid guide dedicated to his grandmother Hazel Rich who passed away in 2006.  The Hazel Easter Rich Orchid Guide (3.7 MB) can be downloaded.  This guide is based primarily on the orchid list for Round the Bend Conservation Co-operative compiled by Hazel and Dean, and the list for One Tree Hill Reserve compiled by Cam Beardsell. Other orchid species with highly restricted distributions within the Christmas Hills region are also listed in the guide.

The Co-op thanks Dean Rouse for his generous gift of this pdf and for sharing his knowledge of our local orchids. All material remains the copyright of Dean Rouse.

Reintroduction of Wine-lipped Spider-orchid

In 2018 Nillumbik Shire Council  established a 30 x 30 exclusion plot on the Co-op for the reintroduction of the Wine-lipped Spider-orchid Arachnorchis oenochila.   The Co-op was selected for its high biodiversity habitat and Co-op members are assisting in the many tasks involved in this comprehensive project.

Suggested Further References

‘A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia, Including the Island Territories’ - Jones, D.L. 2006

‘Wild Orchids of Victoria’ - J Jeanes & G Backhouse – 2006

‘Spider orchids - the Genus Caladenia and its Relatives in Australia’ - 2011. A DVD by Gary Backhouse (Available from Gary at GaryNelsonBackhouse@gmail.com )

More Links


Here are some websites with lots of photos that are very useful to aid identification:




Get Out There!

Searching for orchids is a great excuse to explore the wonders of our beautiful area.  Any time you go out, if you don’t find an orchid, you are sure to find something else to fascinate, like a wildflower, an insect that may be acting unusually, some strange fungi or whatever.

If anyone finds an unusual orchid, or needs some identification assistance, email Frank Pierce as a first step. Referral to others with better knowledge may be required!

© 2017 RTBCC.

© Images supplied by Sirion Pierce

We thank the following for images used on this website: Frank Pierce, Sirion Pierce, Kay Hawkins, Neill & Karyn Kamminga and other members of Round the Bend Conservation Co-operative.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the RTBCC stands. We respectfully recognise Elders both past and present and endeavour to demonstrate this respect by managing this unique land and protecting its integrity.