Our Sunday drive North of Esperance is successful in finding 5 of the early season orchids flowering in the Esperance shire.
First stop is Gibson where a new location turns up the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which flower from April, however it is usually slightly delayed this far east, so we were surprised to find some open.
Next up is our Fleming Grove Road location where we find 3 species. Firstly the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus) is found. We were amazed to find around 8 flowering in close proximity as we had previously only found isolated individuals.
Intermixed with the Leafless orchids were many Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). Again the numbers were high compared to previous discoveries.
Final orchid found at this location is a lone White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). The stem leaf was very small so we were unable to tell if it had crinkled edges, so it may well be a Crinkled-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus). They have differing location specs: White bunny being coastal and Crinkled-leafed bunny mostly inland. As the location is only 30km inland it may be either, so please comment should the identification be apparent.
Final species of the day is the small Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis fuscoviridis), which we find at both Salmon Gums and Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve. Flowering during the months of April and May only, we feel lucky to have found some still in flower, as we found loads more already finished for the season.
Looks like it may be a bumper season, due to the early rains. To celebrate the successful day, we indulged in an ice-cream from Salmon Gums Roadhouse.