Australian Orchid List
 Gary N. Backhouse Melbourne, Robert J. Bates Adelaide, Andrew P. Brown Perth, Lachlan M. Copeland Coffs Harbour


A Checklist of the Orchids of Australia Including its Island Territories Version:  August 2016
Gary N. Backhouse Melbourne, Robert J. Bates Adelaide, Andrew P. Brown Perth, Lachlan M. Copeland Coffs Harbour
Corrections and Updates:
This Checklist of Australian Orchids will be periodically amended and updated, especially as new orchid species are described. Also, there will inevitably be errors or ommissions, especially for new State/Territory records or novel hybrids not included in this list. Please send any comments to Gary by email:
When making reference to this checklist, cite as Backhouse, G.N., Bates, R.J., Brown, A.P. and Copeland, L.M. 2016. A Checklist of the Orchids of Australia Including its Island Territories.
This Checklist covers the 1,869 species, subspecies and varieties of wild orchids (comprising 1,794 species and 116 subspecies and varieties) in 113 genera found in Australia and its island territories. This total includes 395 species considered distinct but not yet named and described, and these species have been identified by a 'tag name'. An additional six species that are not native to Australia but have become established in the wild there are included at the end of the main Checklist. This checklist also includes 546 naturally occurring hybrids (including 48 named wild hybrids) in 15 genera plus 6 intergeneric crosses, that have been observed in the field. Many of the named hybrids were mistakenly named as species before their hybrid status was recognised, while others were deliberately named as hybrids. The inclusion of the many hundreds of recognised but unnamed species and naturally occurring hybrids makes this the most comprehensive checklist of Australian orchids ever compiled. The Checklist has been prepared using information sourced from recent State or regional guides to orchids, herbarium checklists, photographs and the personal observations and experience of the authors. It has been prepared in two versions: an Excel spreadsheet that can be modified by users, and a PDF version that can be printed for a hard copy.
Design of the Checklist:
The Checklist is divided into a number of columns, headed 'Genus', 'Species', 'Subspecies/Variety', 'Taxonomic Authority', 'Alternate Genus', 'Total' (total number of species) and 'Seen'. The Checklist also includes separate sheets for the orchids (both species and hybrids) recorded in each State/Territory plus 'Extralimital' which includes Australia's island territories (e.g. Christmas Island, Cocos-Keeling Islands, Norfolk Island, islands in the Torres Strait etc.). Note that for the purposes of this Checklist Lord Howe Island is included under New South Wales and Macquarie Island is included under Tasmania, which are the relevant administrative authorities for those islands. Jervis Bay Territory, although administered by the Australian Government, is here included under New South Wales. The final column is 'Notes', which for undescribed species (those with a 'tag name') provides some information on which named species the taxon most closely resembles, how it differs from that taxon and distribution/habitat where this might be important information for identification. For a few validly described species some information has been provided where there is doubt as to the veracity of a described species. Genera are arranged alphabetically and then named species within each genus arranged alphabetically, followed by un-named species with tag names arranged alphabetically.
Using the Checklist:
This Checklist is password-protected and can be opened only as 'read only'. Before it can be modified, users will need to save the file under a new file name. A unique feature of this Checklist is that users can then keep track of the number of species they have seen, simply by entering the number 1 in the 'Seen' column against the relevant species, both nationally and by each State or Territory. The second row above the relevant column will automatically give a new total each time a '1' is entered (or deleted).
Scientific Names:
The taxonomy used in this checklist generally follows the genera used in the Australian Plant Census and that are broadly recognised by the Council of Heads of Australia Herbaria. Unfortunately there is not complete agreement amongst all the State and Territory herbaria on a standard list of orchid genera, so we have had to make some judgements on which genera to use in this Checklist. In many cases (such as for Caladenia and Pterostylis) an alternate genus is provided for users of the many segregate genera that have been described in recent years but that are mostly not recognised by State and Territory herbaria. In most cases where a species was described in a genus that is not currently widely recognised in Australia, a new name combination in the appropriate recognised genus has been made. However, there are several instances where species have recently been described in alternate genera but the appropriate new name combinations have not yet been made. The species in question have been included in the relevant recognised genera and the relevant cell coloured yellow. Where a species is recognised as distinct but has not yet been described, a unique 'tag name' is provided, and information on its affinities, a brief description and distribution included under 'Notes'.
Dean Rouse provided details for many of the undescribed Prasophyllum species from south-eastern Australia. Colin Bower and David Jones generously provided advice on many of the undescribed species, especially in New South Wales. Jean Egan and Tony Wood provided comments for the Australian Capital Territory list and David James provided comments for the Queensland list. Our thanks to all contributors.
ACT=Australian Capital Territory; AVH=Australia' Virtual Herbarium (; NSW=New South Wales; NT=Northern Territory; Qld=Queensland; SA=South Australia; Tas=Tasmania; Vic=Victoria; WA=Western Australia; AIT= Australia's Island Territories
Download Files:
PDF File:  5.12 Mb Excel Spreedsheet File: 0.49 Mb 
Click on the PDF file Photo or the Excel File Photo to download files.
Backhouse, G.N. and Jeanes, J.A. 1995. The Orchids of Victoria. The Meigunyah Press, Carlton.
Backhouse, G., Kosky, B., Rouse, D. and Turner, J. 2016. Bush Gems: A Guide to the Wild Orchids of Victoria. Ebook, Melbourne.
Bates, R.J. 2011. South Australia's Native Orchids. DVD-ROM. Native Orchid Society of South Australia Inc., Adelaide.
Bates, R.J. 2016. Diuris calcicola a new species of mallee donkey orchid from South Australia. Australian Orchid Review 80(5): 43-46
Bishop, T. 2000. Field Guide to the Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.
Bower, C. 2007. The Wasp, Ant and Bird Orchids of the Chiloglottis alliance - a general overview. The Orchadian 15(8): 402-415.
Brown, A.P. and Brockman, G. 2007. Caladenia petrensis and C. saxicola (Orchidaceae), two new ironstone endemics from
south-west Western Australia. Nuytsia 17: 73–79
Brown, A.P. and Brockman, G. 2015. New taxa of Caladenia (Orchidaceae) from south-west Western Australia. Nuytsia 25: 45–123
Brown, A., Dundas, P., Dixon, K. and Hopper, S. 2008. Orchids of Western Australia. University of Western Australia Press, Perth.
Brown, A., Dixon, K., French, C. and Brockman, G. 2013. Field Guide to the orchids of Western Australia. Simon Nevill Publications, Perth.
Copeland, L. 2005. Rare or threatened orchids of the Guyra-Ebor Road. The Orchadian 14(12): 554-559
Govaerts, R. 2016. World Checklist of Orchidaceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Hoffman, N. and Brown, A.P. 2011. Orchids of South-Western Australia, 3rd edition. University of Western Australia Press, Perth.
Jeanes, J. 2004. A revision of the Thelymitra pauciflora R.Br. (Orchidaceae) complex in Australia. Muelleria 19: 19-79.
Jeanes, J. and Backhouse, G. 2006. Wild Orchids of Victoria, Australia. Aquatic Photogrtaphics, Seaford.
Jones, D.L. 2006. A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia. New Holland, Frenchs Forest.
Jones, D.L. 2008. Field Guide to the Orchids of the Australian Capital Territory. National Parks Association, Australian Capital Territory.
Jones, D.L. and Clements, M.A. 2006. New taxa of Australian Orchidaceae. Australian Orchid Research 5: 1-184
Jones, D., Wapstra, H., Tonelli, P. and Harris, S. 1999. The Orchids of Tasmania. The Meigunyah Press, Carlton.
Kuiter, R.H. 2010. Victoria's Small Caladenias Ebook. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford.
Rouse, D.T. 2002. Report on the taxonomic, ecological and conservation status of taxa in the genus Prasophyllum R. Br. in south-eastern Australia. Unpublished report to the Australian Orchid Foundation
Stephenson, A. 2011. Orchid Species of the Shoalhaven NSW Australia. self-published
Thank you, Gary Backhouse for providing us with the above files of the Checklist of the Orchids of Australia Including its Island Territories
Version - August 2016
for distribution via our website.