Rare native blooms the focus of Portland search

A team has been searching for two of the state’s rarest orchids near Portland this week.

The group, made up of Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) staff and Australasian Native Orchid Society volunteers, has been recording numbers of the Mellblom’s Spider- orchid and Limestone Spider-orchid.

DELWP biodiversity officer David Pitts said both species had a population of less than 1000 plants.

“The Mellblom's Spider-orchid only grows in Victoria’s south-west and the Limestone Spider-orchid has only ever been recorded in Victoria’s south west and south-east South Australia,” Mr Pitts said.

“These stunning orchids were widespread and abundant in south-west Victoria in the 1950s, however they are now limited to much smaller populations.

“It’s important we undertake this work to understand what caused this significant decline over a relatively short period.”