Nature conservation

Threatened species

Pine Donkey Orchid - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Diuris tricolor
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 29 Jun 2022


The Pine Donkey Orchid (formerly known as Diuris sheaffiana and D. colemaniae) is a terrestrial species (it grows from the ground rather than from rocks or vegetation). It has between one and three leaves, to 30 centimetres long and 4 mm wide. The flower stalk is between 20-40 cm high and has 2-6 flowers, which are bright yellow to orange, speckled with red to purple and white markings. The sepals (the down-pointing slender green segments) are very long and often crossed.


Sporadically distributed on the western slopes of NSW, extending from south of Narrandera all the way to the north of NSW. Localities in the south include Red Hill north of Narrandera, Coolamon, and several sites west of Wagga Wagga. Condobolin-Nymagee road, Wattamondara towards Cowra,  Eugowra, Girilambone, Dubbo and Cooyal, in the Central West. Pilliga SCA, Pilliga National Park and Bibblewindi State Forest in the north (and extending into Queensland) and Muswellbrook in the east.

Habitat and ecology

  • Disturbance regimes are not known, although the species is usually recorded from disturbed habitats.
  • Associated species include Callitris glaucophylla, Eucalyptus populnea, Eucalyptus intertexta, Ironbark and Acacia shrubland. The understorey is often grassy with herbaceous plants such as Bulbine species.
  • Usually flowers between early September to late October. The species is a tuberous, deciduous terrestrial orchid and the flowers have a pleasant, light sweet scent.
  • The Pine Donkey Orchid grows in sclerophyll forest among grass, often with native Cypress Pine (Callitris spp.). It is found in sandy soils, either on flats or small rises. Also recorded from a red earth soil in a Bimble Box community in western NSW.
  • Usually recorded as common and locally frequent in populations, however only one or two plants have also been observed at sites. The species has been noted as growing in large colonies.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Predicted None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Predicted None