Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
Rather than trying to cover the huge subject of orchids entirely, on this page the emphasis will be on easy-to-grow orchids suitable for the general landscape in Queensland (including Australian native orchids). Given the current need for low-water use plants and plants suitable for small gardens and patios etc, it may be time to explore the potential of orchids as ornamental plants for the regular home gardener.
Consider joining your local orchid society for information as well as shows, displays, meetings, outings or plant sales. Please check the bottom of the page for links.
News about Orchids
Mixed Messages From Alluring Orchid
A little-known fact about mosquitoes is that adults of both sexes feed on floral nectar and other plant sugars. Some plants in turn use mosquitoes as pollinators. A Northern Hemisphere orchid called Platanthera obtusata advertises its nectar by emitting an alluring scent. Scientists have found it's a mixture of different odour compounds in exactly the right proportions that does the trick, but some of the components have a repulsive effect in isolation. They also found that one of the repellent chemicals lights up the same parts of the mosquito brain as DEET. An orchid-inspired compound could provide an effective (and better-smelling) alternative for personal insect protection in the future. Source: Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people - and now scientists know why. (January 2020)Older news items at bottom of page.
Where to buy Orchids in Qld
Some garden centres will carry a limited selection of orchids. For a larger selection look for an orchid specialist in your area, or a mail order or online orchid nursery. Specialists are also likely to stock the pots, baskets, mixes and fertilisers best suited to orchid culture.
As well as orchid nurseries in Qld, mail-order and online suppliers of orchids to Qld may also be listed here. If you're such a business, learn more: Information for advertisers.
More Online Information
The following links are for general information and research - some species or cultivars mentioned in these websites may be unavailable in Australia
The Orchid Forests of Hull River's Wetlands, in tropical Far North Queensland, Australia part of Dave Kimble's Rainforest Photo Catalogue
Many clubs and societies list upcoming events in the Events Diary, so why not see what's on in your area?
Australia's Native Orchids Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Orchids in the Garden Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Orchid Species Society Inc (Natives and exotics)
More than symbioses: orchid ecology, with examples from the Sydney Region Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney (PDF)
West Australian Orchids by Emily H Pelloe, 1930. (A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook)
My Favourite Rainforest Plants for Containers by David Ratcliffe, Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Orchids from Seed Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Propagation and seed viability of the endangered orchid Prasophyllum correctum D.L. Jones (Gaping Leek Orchid) Australian Flora Foundation (PDF)
Virus diseases of orchids Victoria Department of Primary Industries
A review of the taxonomy and relationships of the Dendrobium speciosum complex (Orchidaceae), and recognition of two new taxa Telopea (Journal of plant systematics) (PDF)
Cooktown Orchid Dendrobium phalaenopsis Australian National Botanic Gardens (includes story of its selection as Floral Emblem of Queensland)
Australian Floral Emblems - Dendrobium bigibbum Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Dendrobium speciosum Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney
Establishing Dendrobium Orchids Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Dendrobium kingianum Post at "Albert's Greenhouse" blog
Black Orchid Cymbidium canaliculatum, at the Toowoomba Plants blog
Black Bootlace Orchid Erythrorchis cassythoides (Galeola cassythoides), at the Toowoomba Plants blog
There are a plethora of websites about orchids on the internet. Just go to your favourite search engine and you'll quickly find copious amounts of information.
This group has a dedicated page on this website: Crucifix Orchids (Epidendrum species and hybrids)
Nitrogen and flowering in Phalaenopsis
Night-flowering orchid discovered
The first known night-flowering orchid has been discovered on an island near Papua New Guinea. Even though many other orchids are pollinated by moths, their flowers remain open during the day. In contrast, the flowers of Bulbophyllum nocturnum open after dark and close in the morning. They last only one night. It's pollinator is as yet unknown, but could be a midge. Source: World's first night-flowering orchid is discovered (November 2011)
Rare orchid flowers for 4th time in 40 years
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's specimen Bulbophyllum fletcherianum has recently flowered for only the 4th time since it was collected in Papua New Guinea in the early seventies. The species is also unusual in that its flowers smell strongly of rotting meat, and it has leaves that grow to almost 1.8 metres long. Source: Rare 'rotting meat' orchid in flower for first time in six years (June 2011)Mackay orchid house revamp a success
The success of the Mackay Regional Council Orchid House refurbishment has been demonstrated by a flowering of the rare Tongue Orchid (Bulbophyllum fletcherianum). Tongue-shaped leaves growing to almost 1.8 metres make this New Guinea native one of the world's largest growing orchids, while the short-lived flowers have a colour and aroma that attract blowflies and carrion beetles. The Orchid House in Queens Park, Mackay, also house 675 other orchid varieties. Source: Rare orchid thrives in newly refurbished Orchid House (July 2010)
Cricket identified as orchid pollinator
Researchers trying to discover the pollinator of Angraecum cadetii on the island of Reunion trained a night camera on the orchid and caught a wingless cricket in the act. They say there is a close match between the cricket's head and the flower's nectar-spur opening, and that the cricket's utilisation of nectar might be an adaptation to the scarcity of other insects on the island. Source: First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film by Kew scientist (January 2010)
Native orchid rediscovered
Two plants of Dwarf Spider-Orchid (Caladenia pumila), have been found in Victoria. This species was last seen in 1926, and was thought to be extinct. In the two months since the discovery, no additional plants have been found. The location of the two known plants is being kept a secret for their protection, but attempts are being made to propagate from them. More information from Victoria's The Department of Sustainability and Environment: 'Lost' orchid re-discovered after 83 years (December 2009)