Native plants and animals


Nillumbik is a semi-rural environment and home to a beautiful range of indigenous flora, fauna and habitats.

Areas of remnant vegetation are somewhat representative to those prior to European settlement.

A large proportion of Nillumbik is covered with remnant indigenous vegetation in a range of types, condition and varying conservation status.

The main types of vegetation found include:

  • Grassy Dry Forest
  • Valley Grassy Forest
  • Heathy Dry Forest
  • Herb-rich Foothill Forest

Much of the remnant bushland, indigenous flora and fauna that exists is threatened by various processes including:

  • residential development
  • habitat destruction
  • environmental weeds
  • pest animals and
  • climate change

The preservation and protection of remnant bushland is imperative for conservation of endangered local flora and fauna and our indigenous heritage.

Our indigenous flora and fauna are protected under state legislation, in particular the Wildlife Act 1975, Planning and Environmental Act 1987 and Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act), and federally under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.    

For more information contact the Environment team, or 9433 3111 or visit the Help improve your natural environment webpage.

What Council does to enhance/protect biodiversity

Protection of remnant trees and vegetation is a Council priority.

Council is responsible for the management of 99 environmentally significant, bushland reserves and wetlands covering an area of 495 hectares. These areas are important for:

  • biodiversity (plants, animals and micro-organisms)
  • habitat corridors between national parks, state forest and larger reserves
  • remnants of once widespread vegetation
  • seed bank for revegetation 
  • habitat for wildlife and significant plants.



Land Management Incentive Program

Council offers flexible grants to support a range of integrated land management activities for private landholders and community groups.

Available to private landholders and community groups, grants for projects relating to land within Green Wedge and Rural Conservation Zones or Environmental Significance Overlay will be given priority over others. Projects outside of these areas will need to demonstrate significant environmental benefit.

Find out more


Collaborative Community Deer Action across Nillumbik

The aim of this program is to build the capacity of the local community to engage in targeted local area deer control options via delivery of educational programs related to deer management. By participating you will be better informed in how to reduce the impact of deer on your property, on your neighbourhood and on the environment.

Find out more


For further information and advice to help protect and enhance biodiversity at your property contact Council's Biodiversity Officer, Julia Franco or Land Management Officer Stephanie Orive


Native Animals

Nillumbik supports a high diversity of animal (fauna) species which occupy various habitats.

Approximately 377 indigenous fauna species have been recorded within the Shire.

Nillumbik’s fauna ranges from the more common species that may be seen around residential areas such as the Brush-tailed Possum and Rainbow Lorikeet to the rarely seen inhabitants of the forest such as the Common Dunnart, Lace Monitor and Brush-tailed Phascogale.

Nillumbik supports a high proportion of threatened fauna species, with approximately 72 species listed as threatened in Victoria and 12 listed as threatened in Australia.

This includes an important population of Brush-tailed Phascogale as well as some of the only populations of Eltham Copper Butterfly.

The Shire supports resident populations of several threatened bird species such as Powerful Owl and Barking Owl and the occasional visit by threatened migratory birds such as the Lewin's Rail, Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater. 

Find out more about threatened fauna species below, or take part in one of our environmental activities.

Threatened animal species

Southern Toadlet (Threatened, Vulnerable)


The Southern Toadlet (Pseudophryne semimarmorata) has an olive to dark brown body covered with numerous small warts above and a black and white marbled appearance around the belly. The Southern Toadlet is found in damp habitats including woodlands, dry forests, shrubland, grassland and drainage lines. They are usually located in wet areas under rocks, logs or leaf litter.

The Southern Toadlet is located in southern Victoria, eastern Tasmania and south-east of South Australia. In Nillumbik Shire the species has been previously found in numerous locations. However, recently it has not been recorded at former sites and it appears to have drastically declined due to a number of threatening processes, including the drought. Recent records include small populations at three sites in Eltham South, along a gully in Bunjil Reserve and in gullies within the southern part Kinglake National Park.

This species is listed as vulnerable in Victoria where major threats to this toadlet appears to be associated with loss of suitable habitat due to the clearing of bushland, weed invasion, pollution of streams and wetlands and prolonged drought and drying of breeding sites. Bushfires are also a major concern for the Southern Toadlet within the Nillumbik Shire as they cause significant habitat loss.


Brush-tailed Phascogale (Threatened, Vulnerable)



The Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa) is a carnivorous marsupial that is distinguished by its black bushy tail. The small mammal has a grey body and relatively large ears. The Brush-tailed Phascogale lives in low density populations within larger bushland areas. They prefer dry forests which have a relatively open understorey. They are dependent on tree hollows for breeding and shelter, particularly from predators, and prefer rough-barked tree species which are easier to climb and provide their food source of insects, spiders and occasionally nectar.

The Brush-tailed Phascogale has now been reduced to small populations which occur in the north and west of Melbourne and north of the Great Dividing Range in the Box-Ironbark region. Nillumbik Shire contains a large concentration of the species in Strathewen, St Andrews, Christmas Hills, Watsons Creek and Kangaroo Ground. The Brush-tailed Phascogale can also be found in smaller populations in Eltham, Arthurs Creek, Cottles Bridge and North Warrandyte.

The Brush-tailed Phascogale is listed under The Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and is considered Vulnerable in Victoria. Numbers of this vulnerable species have decreased significantly due to loss of habitat and clearing of bushland areas, predation by foxes and cats, and loss of hollow bearing trees. Fragmentation and loss of habitat contributes to limiting the breeding opportunities of the species and increasing exposure to predators.

Meet your Neighbour - Brush-tailed Phascogale Fact Sheet(PDF, 794KB)

Powerful Owl (Threatened, Vulnerable)


The Powerful Owl 
(Ninox strenva) is the largest species of owl in Australia, reaching a height of 55-65cm. It is brown on the head and wings, with a white body that has mottled dark brown v-shaped barring. The eyes are large and orange/yellow. The Powerful Owl prefers drier forest types with large old trees, but can be found in open woodlands as long as they contain mature, live hollow bearing eucalypt trees and plenty of prey species. The Powerful Owl is a nocturnal predator, feeding on possums and gliders.


The Powerful Owl is found throughout south-east and eastern Australia. In Nillumbik Shire the Powerful Owl has been recorded in numerous locations. The breeding sites in the past have been located in Smiths Gully, Eltham, North Warrandyte, Eltham South, along Plenty River in Plenty, Bend of Islands, One Tree Hill Conservation Reserve and in the upper Diamond and Arthurs Creek.

The Powerful Owl is listed as Vulnerable in Victoria and is listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. One of the major threats of the Powerful Owl is reduction of suitable large hollow eucalypts which are essential for breeding and impacts directly on the availability of nests sites. Foxes and cats are also known to predate on young chicks. Processes such as fire and habitat clearing can lead to changes in the forest structure and this can reduce the availability of food and roosting and breeding sites.


Common Dunnart (Threatened, Vulnerable)


The Common Dunnart 
(Sminthopsis murina) is a small carnivorous marsupial which is mouse-grey above whilst mostly whitish-grey below.  They have large rounded ears and eyes and have a thin tail. Common Dunnarts prefer dry forests predominately with an open mid storey and ground layer dominated by tussock grasses. In Nillumbik the Common Dunnart prefers to inhabit dry bushland dominated by Red Stringbark and Long-leaf Box with Red-anther Wallaby Grass as the ground layer. The presence of logs and rock are very important as they provide habitat for this species. They feed on a wide range of insects, including beetles, roaches, cricket larvae and spiders.

Populations of Common Dunnart are scattered throughout drier parts of the State. Previously in Nillumbik, from 1980’s to 1990’s, the species had been recorded at multiple sites including Cottles Bridge, Christmas Hills, St Helena, Kangaroo Grounds and Yarrambat. However, recently the Common Dunnart has only been recently recorded in Christmas Hills.

There is little known about the abundance and population dynamics of this species. But it is understood that population numbers have dropped significantly in the past 20-30 years in Victoria. The declining population is likely due to clearing and a reduction in habitat, predation by foxes and cats and inappropriate fire regimes. Parks Victoria has coordinated a management program for the species found at Christmas Hills since 2005.


Spot-tailed Quoll (Threatened, Vulnerable)


The Spot-tail Quoll 
(Dasyurus maculatus maculatus), also known as a Tiger Quoll, is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupials in Australia. They have reddish brown to dark chocolate brown fur with white spots around the body and tail. This marsupial can weigh up to four kilos.

The Spotted-tailed Quoll can be found near the coasts of NSW, VIC, Southern QLD, small parts of SA, all of TAS and a small population is said to be found in northern coastal regions in Queensland. Their preferred habitats are rainforests, wet and dry sclerophyll forests, coastal heath and scrub. They require forests with suitable den sites such as hollows, hollow logs, rock crevices, caves and burrows. They have a large home range of 580ha-2200ha and prefer to feed on a range of small to medium sized mammals including gliders, possums and rabbits, as well as birds and insects and dead animals (carrion).

This species is listed as Endangered in Australia under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) 1999, and is endangered in Victoria and is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.  Populations are in decline due to a number of threats including habitat loss, predation and competition caused by foxes, wild dogs and cats and land clearing. Other threats to the Spotted-tailed Quoll include habitat fragmentation, disease, inbreeding, inappropriate fire regimes and poisoning from 1080 baits.


Eltham Copper Butterfly (Threatened, Vulnerable)


The area around Eltham supports the largest of the few remaining populations of the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) in Victoria.

It was first discovered around Eltham in 1938 and was thought to have become extinct around the 1950’s.

Following the rediscovery of the butterfly in the Eltham area in 1987, the ECB was listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988) in May 1991. 

Biology and distribution

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is a small and attractive butterfly with bright copper colouring on the tops of its wings visible during the summer flight season.

  • It is an unusual species due to its close symbiotic association with a group of ants from the genus Notoncus and the shrub Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa). 
  • Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the roots and stems of Sweet Bursaria. Once the eggs hatch, the ants guard the caterpillars (providing protection from predators) ushering the larvae to and from the ant nest at the base of the shrub, to feed on the Sweet Bursaria leaves at night.  In return the ants feed on the sugar secretions exuded from the body of the caterpillar.
  • The butterfly has a preference for open flight paths and receiving direct sunlight; vegetation with an open middle and under storey.

Butterfly locations

The Eltham Copper Butterfly is known only to occur in Victoria and only recorded at a few geographically separate locations including:

  • Ten sites in the Eltham-Greensborough area
  • Three separate small populations in the Kiata-Salisbury area in the Wimmera.
  • Three sites in the Bendigo region in rural Victoria.
  • Small populations at two sites at Castlemaine in rural Victoria

In the Eltham area, Nillumbik Shire Council own and manage six bushland reserves for the conservation of the Eltham Copper Butterfly, these include:

Parks Victoria owns and manages the Pauline Toner Eltham Copper Butterfly Reserve in Eltham, and populations of the Eltham Copper Butterfly occur on at least two known private properties in the Eltham area.

Decline of the Butterfly

The Eltham Copper Butterfly was listed as a threatened taxon in Schedule 2 of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 in 1991. 

It is now classified as Endangered under the DSE Advisory List of Threatened Invertebrate Fauna in Victoria 2009. 

Major causes of the decline

  • The destruction and loss of habitat
  • Urbanisation and associated human activity such as weed invasion, rubbish dumping, trampling, slashing and clearing of vegetation and wildfires. 
  • Agricultural production

Remaining populations in the Eltham area are disparate and occur in small reserves across the urban landscape. 

Annual Eltham Butterfly counts

  • Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly in partnership with Nillumbik Shire Council and the Eltham Copper Butterfly Working Group have been undertaking annual caterpillar and adult butterfly counts since 1993
  • Larval counts are useful and can be potentially used as an early indicator of population development and general population health
  • The numbers fluctuate each year. Compared to the 2017 spring survey, the 2018 survey found that larvae populations and distribution have mostly increased in number and area
  • The 2018 survey found all of the reserves managed by Council (Western Colony, Eastern Colony, Pitt Street Reserve and Laleham Court Reserve) and Parks Victoria (Pauline Toner) continue to respond well to the ongoing management program.

The annual Eltham Copper Butterfly (ECB) caterpillar count is on again throughout October and will be taking place at various ECB bushland reserves in Eltham.

Community members are welcome to join in for the opportunity to learn about the ecology of the ECB and work in small groups searching bushes to count the caterpillar and record their locations.

Bookings: registration is required. Contact John Harris,


The conservation effort

The conservation effort of the Eltham Copper Butterfly populations has a long history.

Following it’s rediscovery in 1987 and in the face of the then proposed urban development on Diosma Road in Eltham, the local community successfully lobbied and fundraised for the reservation of the

  • Western and Eastern Eltham Copper Butterfly colonies and
  • Pauline Toner Reserve, now owned by Parks Victoria

Early conservation work 

Early work undertaken by the local community to protect the Eltham Copper Butterfly and its habitat is embedded in the social, cultural and natural heritage and identity of the Eltham community.

Over the past twenty-five years there have been sustained investments of time and money to maintain and conserve the populations and supporting eco-system.

This has been a cooperative effort of land managers, Friends Groups, and the Eltham Copper Butterfly Working Group.

In 2010 with support from Nillumbik Shire Council the Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly, the Friends of Diosma Road and the Friends of Woodridge Linear Reserve received a joint community grant from the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority to develop and implement a community engagement program with the primary aim of renewing local community support for the conservation of the butterfly and its habitat:

Through this funding an extensive community engagement program was developed and implemented to increase awareness and appreciation of the conservation of the Eltham Copper Butterfly within the local Eltham community.

The program also included capacity building activities specifically developed to benefit the three friends of groups involved in the project. 

In addition, weed infestations and garden encroachments into the reserves were identified and addressed as a main threat to the habitat of the Eltham Copper Butterfly.

Grant to protect and enhance habitat

In 2012, the Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly in partnership with Nillumbik Shire Council, Parks Victoria, the Friends of Diosma Road, the Friends of Woodridge Linear Reserve and Eltham East Primary School received a Communities for Nature grant of $459,000 from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, to protect and enhance the habitat of the Eltham Copper Butterfly. 

Grant objectives

  • Optimise the habitat requirements and conditions of the Eltham Copper Butterfly across the ten sites
  • Support sustainable populations of other rare and threatened species found within the Eltham Copper Butterfly sites as well the Eltham Copper Butterfly itself.
  • Increase the resilience of the Eltham Copper Butterfly sites to weed invasion and other threats.
  • Protect and enhance the ecosystem services (social, economic, cultural and heritage values) provided by the Eltham Copper Butterfly sites
  • Coordinate weed control across property boundaries.
  • Increase community participation and involvement in the protection of the Eltham Copper Butterfly. How can you help?

Interested in the conservation of the butterfly?

Join the Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly or contact Wayne Kinrade on 9439 1482 or via email at

You can record your butterfly sightings and assist with the ID of butterflies via this free app, recently launched by Butterfies Australia.


Common wombat


A medium-sized stocky marsupial with bristly grey-brown fur. This solitary marsupial, when not sleeping in one of its burrows, can be seen grazing on grasses and sedges. The Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus) prefers to live in densely vegetated locations that have grassy areas nearby.

Changes to the legal requirements for the control of the Common Wombat

The Victorian Government recently revoked the legal instrument that allowed for the lethal control of wombats without a permit in a number of areas in eastern Victoria, including Nillumbik.

These changes provide additional protection to wombats across eastern Victoria where landholders must now apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) under the Wildlife Act 1975 (Wildlife Act) to control wombats, as other landholders in Victoria are already required to do.

Further information about the changes can be found in this fact sheet.


Eastern Grey Kangaroo

A large, long-snouted hopping marsupial with grey to greybrown fur. The Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) sleeps under low vegetation for most of the day and then comes out to graze on grasses and shrubs in the evening. This marsupial usually moves with others amongst well-vegetated areas.

This webinar was live on Wednesday 24 June. Join Associate Professor Graeme Coulson, Honorary Principal Fellow and Wildlife Ecologist at University of Melbourne for a webinar on the biology and population dynamics of kangaroos.



Informative kangaroo video courtesy of Manningham Backyard Biodiversity

Short-beaked Echidna


A small, medium sized monotreme with distinctive, sharp spines. The short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) sleeps most of the day and feeds at evening and dawn on termites in amongst the bush. This solitary mammal defends itself by rolling into a spiny ball and digging into the ground.

An informative echidna video courtesy of Manningham's Backyard Biodiversity



Native Plants

A wide range of plants (flora) species can be found in Nillumbik.

  • from large, long-lived trees such as Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora
  • to tiny, delicate, short-lived herbs such as Slender Stylewort Levenhookia sonderi.

Nillumbik is known for its diverse orchid population with approximately 143 different orchid species recorded. 

  • Approximately 1325 indigenous flora species have been recorded within Nillumbik.

The distribution of these plants is determined by environmental factors such as soil type, rainfall, hydrology and topography.

Indigenous flora is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem and provides important habitat for our fauna.

However, a number of the plants found in Nillumbik are now rare or threatened. This includes

  • 83 species listed as rare or threatened in Victoria and
  • seven species listed as endangered or vulnerable in Australia under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
  • The Rosella Spider-orchid, once scattered throughout southern and central Victoria and
  • the Charming Spider Orchid
  • majority of the known populations of the Wine-lip Spider-Orchid are restricted to the region.

The Shire also supports several populations of the Victorian endemic Round-leaf Pomaderris, a species only known from a small number of populations in the ranges to the north and east.

You can find out more about threatened flora species below, from the 'Live Local Plant Local' publication or by taking part in one of our environmental activities.

Threatened plant species

Rosella Spider Orchid (Caladenia rosella)


There are currently less than 150 known Rosella Spider-orchid plants in the wild. The Rosella Spider-orchid (Caladenia rosella) grows to 20cm tall when flowering and has a single leaf which is 4-9cm long and covered with fine hairs.  The base of the leaf stem is greenish to reddish-purple coloured. Flowers are pink with a musky fragrance and blossoms from August to September.

Although the Rosella Spider-orchid was once scattered throughout Central Victoria, it is now only known from four populations that are restricted to Nillumbik Shire.

The Rosella Spider-orchid has been impacted from the clearance of habitat, rabbit grazing and grassy weeds. Grassy weeds such as Panic Veldt-grass and Quaking Grass smother the orchid and compete for nutrients and water. Other threats include housing developments and land clearing, predation by White-winged Choughs, inappropriate fire regimes and habitat disturbances. Loss of the key pollinator species, a bee of the Leioproctus genus, due to a reduction in the diversity of the orchid’s habitat, including the removal of indigenous daisies, wattles and peas, is also an important factor in the decline of the Rosella Spider-orchid.

The Rosella Spider Orchid is listed as endangered under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is also endangered in Victoria and listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. These acts have helped to protect the remaining populations of Rosella Spider-orchid and recovery actions for this species are currently being undertaken including protecting populations with small metal cages, hand pollination and intensive weed control works.

A program to propogate these orchids is underway with help from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.


Matted Flax Lily (Dianella amoena)


The Matted Flax-lily (Dianella amoena) is a tufted, mat forming lily which has small blue-violet flowers with orange strumae (swellings at the base of the anthers). Plants flower from October to April and are followed by purple-blue berries. The Matted Flax-lily can reach up to 90cm in height when flowering and can form loose clumps up to 5 metres wide. They prefer Grassland and Grassy Woodland habitats. In Nillumbik it has mainly been recorded in Valley Grassy Forest and Creekline Herb-rich Woodland.

The Matted Flax-lily is mainly associated with the volcanic plains, but is located from the south west, north east and south east of Melbourne. Small populations also occur in Eastern Victoria. The majority of the remaining population are located in fragile areas such as on roadsides, railway lines and private land or on small reserves in urban environments. In Nillumbik, the species is only found in several scattered small populations including the reserves at Eltham South and St Andrews and on roadsides around Doreen and Plenty.

It is listed as endangered under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is also listed as endangered in Victoria and is threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The main threats to the Matted Flax-lily include habitat destruction and disturbances, particularly due to development, rabbit and stock grazing, population fragmentation, weed invasion and competition. Fencing of known populations has reduced the impact of grazing and weed control around the vicinity of the plants helps to reduce competition.


Crimson Spider Orchid (Caladenia concolor)


The Crimson Spider-orchid (Caladenia concolor) is a terrestrial orchid which grows to 30cm when flowering. Flower is dark pinkish or deep crimson red in colour with petals approximately 4cm long. The leaf of the Crimson Spider-orchid can reach up to 15cm long and is sparsely hairy. This species generally occurs in Box-Ironbark country. They are sporadically distributed in dry open or intact Box-Ironbark forest habitats and it is believed that fewer than 10 populations remain.

Majority of the species are located in southern NSW. The Crimson Spider Orchid is considered a high priority threatened flora in the South West region of Victoria. In Nillumbik a small population of the Crimson Spider-orchid had previously been found in Wattle Glen and Cottles Bridge, however it is believed to be locally extinct due to grazing by rabbits and predation of the tubers by White-winged Choughs.

This species is listed as Vulnerable in Australia under the EPBC Act and is endangered in Victoria. It is listed as threatened under the FFG Act. Major threats include weed invasion, habitat disturbances, predation by White-winged Choughs, inappropriate fire regimes, and stock and rabbit grazing.


Round-leaf Pomaderris (Pomaderris vacciniifolia)


The Round-leaf Pomaderris (Pomaderris vacciniifolia) is a medium shrub that grows to 3-4 metres high. It has small round leaves that are dark green and shiny on the upper surface and white below. The flowers are small and creamy white which occur in the leaf axil and bloom from October to November. Within Nillumbik the species are found in Valley Grassy Forest EVC dominated by Yellow Box and Candlebark. Around St Andrews it is also found within Creek-line Herb-rich Woodland EVC dominated by a Swamp Gum Eucalyptus ovata in wetter sites and Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora and Candlebark Eucalyptus rubida along alluvial terraces.

The Round-leaf Pomaderris are only recorded in Victoria and are found in small populations in mountain forest around Kinglake, Castella and Toolangi. In Nillumbik the species are found on roadsides in St Andrews and at reserves in Christmas Hills, St Andrews and Eltham. The Round-leaf Pomaderris is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and is endangered in Victoria. It is currently being considered for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Recently, concerns have risen about the plant failing to reproduce successfully due to a number of factors including the previous prolonged drought and preference for a particular type of habitat. Other threats include natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as land clearence, browsing by deer, rabbits and hares, and weed invasion.

In February 2009, The Black Saturday Bushfires destroyed 98% of Kinglake National Park. This had a devastating impact on the Round-leaf Pomaderris and other native flora and fauna. Few years later Kinglake National Park is on its way to recovery.  Populations of Round-leaf Pomaderris were surveyed and surveys have shown impressive regeneration of this species within Kinglake National Park and a healthy population now occurs within the national park.


Wine-lipped Spider Orchid (Caladenia oenochila)


The Wine-lipped Spider-orchid (Caladenia oenochila) is a tall (to 30cm), hairy, erect, terrestrial orchid which has a wiry stem. It displays 1-2 sweetly perfumed flowers which are pale yellow-green with very dark red hairs on the tips and outer surface. The labellum or lip is undivided and is deep, dark red which is paler towards the base.

Wine-lipped Spider-orchid mostly occupies hillcrests and exposed hill slopes. Most of the sites where it has been recorded are consistent with Box Stringybark Woodland (Grassy Dry Forest). Vegetation commonly associated with Wine-lipped Spider orchids typically supports a rich diversity of shrubs, particularly peas and wattles, with a high diversity of grasses, daisies and other orchids. It also occurs in damp and valley sclerophyll forest and is associated with Creekline Herb-rich Woodland, Herb-rich Foothill Forest and Valley Grassy Forest. It prefers moist, well drained soils. The Shire of Nillumbik contains one of the largest concentrations of Wine-lip Spider-orchid in Victoria. This includes the largest known population of the species (over 800 plants in a reserve in St Andrews). All other populations are relatively small and many have declined over the last decade. The species is also localised in parts of outer-eastern Melbourne, including within the Dandenong Ranges.

The Wine-lipped Spider-orchid is listed as Vulnerable in Victoria. This rare orchid is uncommon due to habitat loss from land development. Other threats include weed invasion, grazing, predation, soil disturbance, shading from built structures and vegetation clearance. To conserve and minimise impacts of grazing and predation on the Wine-lipped Spider-orchid fencing and/or caging has been implemented. Hand pollination is often undertaken due to the absence or low abundance of natural pollinators and seed is collected and sown to help increase population sizes.

A program to propogate these orchids is underway with the help of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.