version December 2023
Ramón Newmann and Andrew Brown for the Western Australian Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group.
The Native Orchids of Western Australia
In Western Australia, orchids are found in two broad areas - the tropical north also known as the Kimberley and the Mediterranean southwest.
The Kimberley is home to 13 genera and 20 species and the southwest home to 29 genera and 451 species (comprising 395 named and 56 unnamed species).
In addition, there are 46 subspecies known. When combined, the Kimberley and southwest contain a remarkable 41 genera, 471 species and 46 subspecies of orchid and it is expected that number will rise as ongoing field work and taxonomic studies result in the discovery of additional new orchid taxa.
The above figures exclude the named hybrid genus × Cyanthera and 18 named hybrid Caladenia species that are not included in this version of the key.
Key to the Native Orchids of Western Australia is an interactive identification and information package that will help you identify and learn about all the currently known native orchids found in Western Australia (excluding hybrids).
It is designed for flowering plants and works best when they are fresh and observed in the field. It can also be used to identify orchids from Herbarium specimens but may not work as well as it does with fresh specimens in the field. The key is not designed to work with vegetative plants.
Key to the Native Orchids of Western Australia has been sponsored by the Western Australian Native Orchid Study and Conservation Group (WANOSCG) and developed by its members.
The key is aimed at both amateur orchid enthusiasts and professional researchers alike. You can use it to:
For help on getting started see the How to use the Key and Tips and Limitations sections below, and for the geographic areas used see WA Shire Maps.
Books and other sources of information on Western Australian orchids used in the key: Information/data contained in the key has come from a variety of sources including:
Photographic credits: Key to the Native Orchids of Western Australia contains some 1700 orchid photographs largely contributed by WANOSCG members, both past and present, through the WANOSCG photographic library. Photographers are individually credited with images in the key and they, along with WANOSCG, retain copyright of these photographs.
Acknowledgements: This project would not have been possible without the support and invaluable contributions of a dedicated team of WANOSCG members and others as follows: Location data analysis — Jay Steer; Data gathering from references — Katie White and John Ewing; Webpage design and build — Ray Molloy; Logo design ideas — Lisa Wilson ; Early trialling of the Key — Paul Armstrong, Sally Page, Varena Hardy and Nathan Piesse; and Lucid Key software support and guidance — the very knowledgable, helpful and patient Matt Taylor as part of the Lucidcentral software team.
Disclaimer: This key is designed as an aid to identifying Western Australian native orchids. However, WANOSCG and the authors take no responsibility for the accuracy of results. The key does not replace the advice of professionals in plant identification and the user is solely responsible for the scientific interpretation or any regulatory decision derived from information provided in this tool.
How to use the Key
Running the on-line Lucid Key through your web browser requires no additional software or plug-ins. You just need to click on the Launch Key button at the top of this page below the logo to open the program through your browser. Lucid multi-access keys are simple to use once some basic functions are understood. The process involves working through each group of features and selecting (one at a time) those features that best match your flowering orchid.
Keep doing this until you have narrowed the options down to just one, or a few, remaining taxa. You can select features in any order you like which means you can still make progress towards identifying the orchid if some features are missing from the plant you are viewing.
Features are comprised of characters (e.g. flower colour) and character states (e.g. flowers red). Entities are Genus, species or subspecies (the latter two collectively called taxa).
On start up only the Features Available and Entities Remaining windows will have content. As features are selected (using the tick boxes) they will appear in the Features Chosen window, and the entities that don’t possess those features will be discarded (Entities Discarded).
The Features have illustrative images, and the Entities have sample images and Fact Sheets, all of which can be viewed by clicking on the icons to the left of the feature or entity name.
Tips and Limitations