Leafless Orchid rediscovered

Esperance, Helms Arboretum


What better way to start the day than with brunch out at the Esperance Bird and Animal Farm. We are joined today by our good friends Bob and Jan, who are heading off on a Aussie Adventure of their own in a few weeks.  

We make our way to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) and have a quick scout of the first track to the right. Seems very dry and nothing was found, so we lead the way to the spot we found Bunny orchid buds last visit. 

We are not disappointed. The White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) is found flowering all over this location. These are one of the earliest flowering orchids starting in late March thru to May in a coastal range from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay.

We look further afield but do not find anything else in flower. After saying our goodbyes to Bob and Jan we make our way to the area we had previously found Hare orchids. Not even a leaf is found so we decide to take some tracks we rarely venture on just on the off-chance we stumble across anything. 

Nothing, located when just before we reach the main track out of the park, I spy a Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus) growing at the base of a tree. Excitedly I jump out of the Triton to grab a photo. Deb scours around the nearby area but no further specimens are found.  The Leafless orchid flowers March to May as well but in a smaller area than the White bunny orchid. The range is from Pinjarra to Esperance  growing in sandy soils in shrublands and woodlands.

More White bunny orchids however were found so I just had to get a few more photos.

So happy to have found the Leafless orchid again after having two years where we searched and searched but found none. 2019 is starting off great. 

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