Australian Orchid Foundation


Project: 341/2021

Title: A Complete Description of the Orchids of Australia Online

Applicant: Dr Endymion Cooper, Dr Heidi Zimmer

Institution: Addresses:  EC: Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS), Parks Australia Division, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, GPO Box 858, Canberra

HZ: Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, AustralianNational Herbarium (ANH), GPO Box 1700, Canberra ACT 2601


This project will make available, for the first time, a complete description and taxonomic treatment of Australia’s native orchid flora (~1698 taxa) on the online Flora of Australia platform ( This project is a partnership between botanist David Jones, the Australian Biological Resources Study and the Australian National Herbarium, Canberra. Together, we are creating a single, easily accessible (free) and authoritative online source for Australian orchid information. This project will have far-reaching impacts, including significantly increasing the accessibility of Australian orchid knowledge using online, open-access delivery; sharing knowledge about Australia’s outstanding orchid diversity with an expanded audience; and enabling collaboration in orchid research, conservation and appreciation across interest groups and state borders.

 In January 2021, David Jones, with the support of the Australian Orchid Foundation, published ‘A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia’. Undeniably an incredible achievement, this book is the product of a life devoted to orchid taxonomy and research. The descriptions contained within this publication will provide the foundation for the Orchidaceae on the online Flora of Australia. Flora of Australia is an open-access online platform, which provides the authoritative synthesis of Australia’s plant biodiversity, including information on names, characteristics, distribution and habitat of Australian plants. We will develop descriptive profiles for all described Australian orchid species, which can easily be updated in the future as new research is published.

Final Report

A Complete Description of the Orchids of Australia Online

Heidi Zimmer – February 2024

Project objectives:

  • To provide a nationally comprehensive description of Australia’s orchids in an accessible online format – presentation of descriptive profiles for all described Australian orchid species, which can easily be updated in the future as new research is published.
  • To increase the accessibility of Australian orchid knowledge through online delivery of the Orchidaceae within the Flora of Australia.
  • To raise awareness of Australia’s orchid diversity, through presentation to a broader audience.
  • To facilitate communication and collaboration in orchid research, conservation, and appreciation.
  • To ensure that information about Australia’s orchids is adequately linked to Australia’s biodiversity information systems more broadly (i.e., Atlas of Living Australia, Australasian Virtual Herbarium, and the National Species List).
  • To promote the use of an evidence-based and consistent system of orchid names.
  • Provision of training to a selected contractor in orchid taxonomy and flora writing

Project outcomes:

  • The Orchidaceae Flora of Australia was launched in November 2023 at the Biosystematics Conference in Canberra, with the celebration attended by taxonomists, curators, researchers and others.
  • Highlights included a demonstration of the Orchidaceae Flora of Australia online, live orchid display (thanks to the Australian National Botanic Garden and Mark Clements) and orchid cookies (vanilla flavoured).
  • The event was covered by CSIRO media:

The published Flora of Australia Orchidaceae profiles can be accessed here:

 All published profiles have been edited in line with Flora of Australia standards.

  • 6% of the profiles have been archived because they are taxa without a validly published name, or because they are considered taxonomic synonyms by the Australian Plant Census (APC). 1783 profiles have been edited for publication, 80% of which have been published. 27% of these profiles have been renamed to match APC taxonomic classification, and 36 taxa listed in the APC are currently without a profile as they are not described in Jones (2021).

The Flora of Australia profiles, even after publication online, are fully editable, allowing for

corrections, additions and updates of information as new, relevant research and publications become available. Images continue to be added, via the Australian Plant Image Index.