Highway North

Western Australian Orchids


Today we headed north along the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy until we arrived at Salmon Gums. Checked out the area across from the CBH grain stacks. Only found numerous Thelymitra (Sun Orchid) leaves. Disheartened we cross the Hwy to just north of the CBH grain stack and this small green orchid comes into view. It appears to be a very small , yet to fully develop greenhood. However on closer inspection I am ecstatic to make a brand new find. Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) which flower July to October and range from Wongan Hills to the SA border. They are so small and on further hunting we find more, including those in full bloom. We also come across many finished for this season Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis tepperi).

We now head south down the Hwy to Eldred Rd. Near the lake I find more Sun Orchid leaves and then come across some Dark Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea). We then cross over the Hwy for a quick look and find some more Midget greenhoods.

Not much else so back into the Triton and we move to the south entrance of Eldred Rd and park in the bush surrounding the larger lake. Deb immediately spies a lone snail orchid. Due to it’s hairy stem I’m calling this one Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’), which are found from Kalbarri to Balladonia between June and September. We also found Dark Banded Greenhoods and more spent Pygmy orchids.

We then continue south and pull into Circle Valley Rd and park up for a bite to eat. Looking further around this area nothing found so we venture north over the road, on the lake side, Finally found some Midget greenhoods but nothing more. No more time to lose here so we move further south on the Hwy to our next stop.

Red Lake Town-site Nature Reserve to the right of the Hwy had an area the was fairly cleared with tracks everywhere and Dark banded greenhoods with Pygmy orchids nearby were found. Looking at Maps on the mobile phone it showed a track running in the middle of the reserve for the entire length, so we made our way to this and took it south.

Midget greenhoods found again so I then decided to walk the track whilst Deb drove the Triton.

I came across some very thin Pterostylis orchids with very small unformed flowers and very thin stem leaves. Once laying on the ground for a closer look I recognise the shape of the flower head. These are Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which are found July to October between Northampton and Grass Patch.

We reached the south boundary and no way back to the Hwy so we back track to find a track heading east to the Hwy. On the track more Pygmy orchids, Midget greenhoods, Dark banded greenhoods and Frog greenhoods.

Then finally some snails. From the fawn colouring I’m calling them to be Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi). Nearby we find some Frog greenhoods in full flower and more Midget greenhoods.

Our next planned stop was Grass Patch but as it was getting late (3.30pm) we make tracks for Truslove Nature Reserve as it was burnt in the Nov 15 bush fires. We found a track to the west and followed it in a bit before walking around. Some beautiful Lechenaultia in reds, pinks and oranges, but no orchids. However on the walk back to the Triton, Deb finds both Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Dark banded greenhood, on the side of the track.

We then drive a little further south down the Hwy and take a sandy track to the East. Slowly driving along the track the flowers have changed from Lechenaultia to Pea bushes in yellows. Even with all the yellow to distract me I was lucky enough to pick out a lone Donkey orchid. Finally some colour in our orchids. Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’). Used the flash for some photos as the light was fading fast.

It was dark when we arrived home but we had found 4 greenhoods, 2 snails, 1 donkey, spent pygmy and sun leaves, so not too bad a day out.





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