Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Critically Endangered as Caladenia pumila
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Caladenia pumila (dwarf spider-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2013ea) [Listing Advice].
Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Caladenia pumila (dwarf spider-orchid) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2013ec) [Conservation Advice].
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (21/11/2013).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Policy Statements and Guidelines Draft survey guidelines for Australia's threatened orchids (Department of the Environment, 2013b) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Caladenia pumila.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (107) (09/09/2011) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011c) [Legislative Instrument] as Caladenia pumila.
State Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list) as Caladenia pumila
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Extinct (Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria: 2005)
Scientific name Caladenia pumila [4155]
Family Orchidaceae:Orchidales:Liliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Species author R.S.Rogers
Infraspecies author  
Reference Rogers, R.S. (1922) Contributions to the Orchidology of Australia and New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of South Australia 46: 152 [tax. nov.]
Other names Arachnorchis pumila [76201]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Caladenia pumila

Common name: Dwarf Spider-orchid

The taxonomy is currently accepted as Caladenia pumila (CHAH 2010).

The Dwarf Spider-orchid has a low stature and easily distinguished from other similar spider-orchids. The spider-like flower is pinkish-white and appears rather large, due to the shortness of the stem. The perianth segments (outer envelope protecting the flower) is white, usually without markings, but sometimes with a faint pink stripe on the outside. Sometimes the tips of the sepals are distinctly club-shaped. The leaves are relatively large, hairy, and either linear or oblong-lanceolate (lance-shaped). The stem is also hairy. The margins of the labellum (the flower part that attracts insects to pollinate the flower), in at least a few specimens, are smooth, without any of the fine serrations characteristic of many similar orchid species. The labellum is white with narrow pink margins and a few pink splashes on the lateral lobes. The tubers, comparatively small in this species, are naked, often with numerous remains of withered tubers above (Nicholls 1932).

Two Dwarf Spider-orchid plants were found in a Parks Victoria reserve in the greater Geelong region in late 2009. In an attempt to protect the plants, their location is being kept confidential by the Victorian Government (ABC News 2009).

Prior to 2009, the Dwarf Spider-orchid was considered exinct and had not been observed since 1926. It was discovered in 1922 at Bannockburn, approximately 22 km north-west of Geelong, Victoria. It was very localised in its distribution, having been recorded from only one district in Victoria (Nicholls 1932). Bishop's (1996) description of the species occurring, near Murtoa and west of Inglewood, is in error (Jones 1999 pers. comm).

The Dwarf Spider-orchid is threatened by trampling, browsing and theft (Vic. DSE 2009).

A range of works have been carried out to protect the Dwarf Spider-orchid, including fencing of the site, hand-pollination to encourage seed production, the isolation of the mycorrhizal fungi associated with the orchid and the collection of seed (Stephenson 2013; Vic. DSE 2009). Attempts are being made to propagate the species through the Orchid Conservation Program at both the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Horsham office so the plants can be reintroduced to the wild. The recently opened Horsham program is successfully growing many of south-west Victoria’s rare and endangered orchids (Vic. DSE 2009).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Caladenia pumila in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006dh) [Internet].

ABC News (2009). 'Extinct' orchid rediscovered. [Online]. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Available from:

Bishop, A. (1996). Field Guide to Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria. Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press.

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) (2010). Australian Plant Census. [Online]. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Australian Biological Resources Study . Available from:

Jones, D.L. (1999). Personal Communication.

Nicholls, W.H. (1932). Our rarer orchids, Caladenia pumila. Victorian Naturalist. 49:50-52.

Stephenson, A.W. (2013). Arachnorchis pumila: Back from Extinction. Orchid Conservation Coalition.

Victoria Department of Environment and Sustainability (Vic. DSE) (2009). Lost orchid re-discovered after 83 years. [Online]. Available from:

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Caladenia pumila in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Sat, 30 Aug 2014 04:21:08 +1000.