Rare Native Orchid Discovered in OneFortyOne Green Triangle Estate

12 Dec 23

Our Stories
Flying Duck Orchid. Picture courtesy of Ockert Le Roux.

Recently, an orchid was reported on OneFortyOne estate in the Green Triangle Region. However, this was not just any orchid, this was a Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major).

Named after its resemblance to a duck in flight, the Flying Duck Orchid is listed as Vulnerable within the state of South Australia and Critically Endangered in the state’s South East region. The species is so scarce here, that the last official recording in the South East was in 1965, according to a report released by the Department for Environment and Water (2011).

The scarcity of the Flying Duck Orchid in the region is due to a change in landscape since European settlement. The orchid relies on various species of sawfly to pollinate its flowers, attracting male sawflies by releasing a pheromone that mimics that of a female sawfly. Once the male sawfly has been lured to the Flying Duck Orchid, the flower quickly closes, trapping the insect and covering it in pollen. The fly is then released to move onto the next plant and potentially pollinate it.

Someone who is in awe of the orchid and has dedicated 9-years to searching for the flower is Ockert Le Roux, Green Triangle Forests Marketing & Operations Manager. Upon moving to the Green Triangle Region in 2014, Ockert visited Hells Hole where he first encountered the Flying Duck Orchid. Whilst it was just a picture on an information sign, it was enough to prompt Ockert into researching the plant and spending the next 9 years looking for it. So, when a local discovered a few specimens growing in OneFortyOne plantation one Sunday in early November, Ockert was the first person she contacted.

Ockert says, “Immediately, I dropped everything and got my camera. My wife and I jumped into the car and travelled to the area where the duck orchid was pointed out to me.”

To his delight, Ockert found the orchid at the location, but not without having to search the ground carefully first. He admits, “the orchids blend in with their surrounds. I could have stepped on them if I wasn’t looking.”

This is the first time the plant has been recorded within OneFortyOne estate, and due to its significance, the area where the specimens were found is now marked off and will be protected from disturbance. The species has also been added to OneFortyOne threatened species resources, and employees are on the lookout for more growing within the estate.

Flying Duck Orchid. Picture courtesy of Ockert Le Roux.

To access the dataset of flora species within the South East Region of South Australia visit:

Department for Environment and Water – Regional Species Conservation…

OneFortyOne acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their deep connections to land, water, and community. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people today.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori communities have a strong spiritual connection between people and the land – the wellbeing of one sustains the wellbeing of the other. We strive to build meaningful relationships with iwi as tangata whenua (people of the land/region), to be responsible intergenerational kaitiaki (stewards/guardians) of the land where our forests grow.