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 in bloom in remote Australian town
- The endangered plant in Western Australia is one of the rarest on Earth
- Enthusiasts travel from all over the world to the bush to seek out the orchid
- This year it was first seen in bloom by bush camp staff
A rare orchid that takes ten years to bloom has been spotted in bloom in a remote town in Western Australia.
The Queen of the Sheba is one of the rarest plants on Earth and fans travel from all over the world to the bush just outside Bremer Bay, 500km south east of Perth, to see it.
The endangered orchid is one of the most protected species in Australia and takes seven to ten years to bloom.
This year, Tozer Bush Camp employees took to social media to announce that they had spotted the first plant of the year.
“Hello girls, nice to see you again… A day earlier than last year,” they wrote.
The endangered orchid is one of the most protected species in Western Australia and takes seven to ten years to bloom
The Queen of the Sheba belongs to a family known as the solar orchids. It has a single dark green, spiral leaf and about five red, purple or violet flowers.
Kevin Thiele, a botanist and taxonomist, told ABC that the plant is extremely rare.
“They only come for part of the year, so they’re only there for a short period of time, which means you have to run across the state looking for orchids,” he explained.
“There’s a real thrill of the chase.”
He also said that the plant is an “impostor” and deceives insects into pollinating it.
The deception is why the flowers vary so much in color and pattern, he added.
According to a paper by the Western Australia Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, the orchid grew historically in Perth.
This year, Tozer Bush Camp employees took to social media to let you know that they had seen the first plant of the year
“Historically, this orchid grew in the heart of Perth (including the bushland of Kings Park), but habitat loss from clearance has eliminated many populations,” the paper reads.
“It is now confined to a few small and isolated populations between Bunbury and Albany, which have suffered from trampling and poaching by humans in recent years.”
The authority announced at the end of last year that it had achieved a ‘major conservation breakthrough’ by growing the Queen of Sheba in a laboratory.