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Two rare orchids found in the Daintree

News release | 15-Dec-2017

Biosecurity Queensland staff have discovered two extremely rare native orchids while in search of exotic invasive weeds in the Daintree National Park.

Kim Badcock, Biosecurity Queensland community engagement officer, said officers were searching for the highly invasive weed Miconia, when they spotted these rare orchids.

“The two rare orchids haven’t been photographed in Australia before and there are limited mentions available for reference outside of the original descriptions from 1901,” Mr Badcock said.

“The Vrydagznea albostriatais was a rare find as until now, it was only known to be found in five locations across Papua New Guinea.

“The Anoectochilus was a special find as it is only the second Jewel Orchid to be found in Australia. This Anoectochilus differs from the other Jewel Orchid in that its veins are not as noticeable and it’s been found in one location in relatively large numbers.

“These orchids are described as highly localised, so adding the new species to their families is exciting and another highlight of the natural values of the Wet Tropics.

“By eradicating invasive rainforest plants, such as Miconia, rare orchid species have a better chance of survival,” he said.

“Miconia is a particularly invasive plant and once established in the rainforest, has the potential to replace native plants and impact on wildlife.

“Finding these orchids reaffirms why the eradication of the Miconia is so important for protecting our native environment.”

For more information on Biosecurity Queensland please visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/biosecurity.

Media contact: Samantha McGee, 3087 8558