Rare Queen of the Sheba orchid spotted flowering in WA Bremer Bay


Rare Queen of the Sheba orchid that takes 10 years to bloom has been spotted flowering in remote Aussie town

  • The endangered plant found in Western Australia is one of the rarest on Earth  
  • Enthusiasts travel to the bush from all over the world to seek out the orchid 
  • This year, it was spotted blooming for the first time by staff from a bush camp 

A rare orchid that takes a decade to bloom has been spotted flowering in a remote Western Australian town. 

The Queen of the Sheba is one of the rarest plants on Earth and fans travel from all around the world to the bush, just outside Bremer Bay, 500km southeast of Perth, to see it. 

The endangered orchid is one of the most protected species in Australia and takes between seven and 10 years to flower. 

This year, Tozer Bush Camp staff took to social media to reveal they had spotted the first plant of the year. 

‘Hello girls, good to see you again … One day earlier than last year,’ they posted. 

The endangered orchid is one of the most protected species in Western Australia and takes between seven and 10 years to flower

The endangered orchid is one of the most protected species in Western Australia and takes between seven and 10 years to flower

The Queen of the Sheba belongs to a family known as the sun orchids. It has a single dark green, spiral shaped leaf and around five red, purple or violet flowers.

Kevin Thiele, a botanist and taxonomist, told ABC that the plant is extremely rare.   

‘They only come up for one part of the year so they’re there for only a short period, which means you have to rush around the state looking for orchids,’ he explained.

‘There’s a real thrill of the chase.’

He also said that the plant is a ‘deceiver’ and tricks insects into pollinating it. 

The deception is why the flowers vary so much in colour and pattern, he added. 

According to a Western Australia Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority paper, the orchid historically grew in Perth.     

This year, Tozer Bush Camp staff took to social media to reveal they had spotted the first plant of the year

This year, Tozer Bush Camp staff took to social media to reveal they had spotted the first plant of the year

‘Historically this orchid grew in the heart of Perth (including the Kings Park bushland) but loss of habitat through clearing has eliminated many populations,’ the paper read.

‘It is now restricted to a few small and isolated populations between Bunbury and Albany, which have suffered from trampling and poaching by people in recent years.’

The authority announced at the end of last year that it had made a ‘major conservation breakthrough’ by growing the Queen of Sheba in a lab. 

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