Plants of
South Australia
Diuris pardina
Common Donkey-orchid,
Spotted Donkey-orchid
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 8

Prior names

Diuris brevissima

Diuris maculata

Common names

Common Donkey-orchid

Spotted Donkey-orchid


Diuris from the Greek 'dis' meaning double and 'oura' meaning a tail, referring to the drooping lateral sepals resembling tails, on some species. Pardina from the Latin 'pardus' meaning leopard; referring to its flowers with spots like a leopard.

Distribution and status

Found on the lower Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, southern Flinders Ranges, Mount Lofty Ranges and South-east in South Australia growing in heathlands or drier open-forests. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Terrestrial orchid to 40 cm tall in flower. Leaves 2 or 3, to 30 cm long, linear, channelled. Inflorescence on slender stem with 2–10, orange-yellow flowers (heavily blotched with dark brown). Pedicel to 3 cm long, slender, partly enclosed within tapered bract. Dorsal sepal obliquely erect, ovate, to 12 mm long, apex often recurved. Lateral sepals deflexed, recurved, parallel usually strongly crossed, sickle-shaped, to 18 mm long, green with darker markings. Petals obliquely erect to recurved, to 20 mm long, claw to 7 mm long, blackish, lamina ovate, usually heavily blotched on outer surface. Labellum projected forward, to 7 mm long, 3-lobed with lateral lobes about as long as mid-lobe, oblong, mid-lobe wedge-shaped, strongly folded. Flowering between August and October. Fruits are brown papery ellipsoid capsule.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November and December. Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules. Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen.