Another sunny winters day so what better thing to do than to look for orchids. However, this time I am accompanied on my wander by my latest grandchild, Bonnie and her mum of course. Not too much was found however I will list those found below with pics to confirm the sightings.
Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) is a species found between Perth and Israelite Bay. They flower June to August and can rise to 300mm in height. It has the largest labellum out of the 4 species found in WA.
Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) is a species found between Binningup and Esperance. They flower June to August and can rise to 200mm in height. It is one of the 7 species found in WA.
Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis voigtii) is a species with a restricted range between Esperance and Israelite Bay. They flower July to early September and only rise to 50mm in height. This species was only named in 2015.
Another day solo, as Deb enjoys a weekend away. Today I will head out west of Esperance. 1st stop: Walk trail near Pink Lake Lookout – First up, some good-sized Caladenia sp. leaves are found alongside the bitumen track. Then I head off the track into the surrounding scrub and it is here I find the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) flowering. Also found some Shell orchids and Mosquito orchids sprouting.
2nd stop: Wind Farm Rd – Along the side of the walk track to the now dismantled wind turbines the Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) are found flowering, whilst only the upright rosettes of the Bird orchids are found. A little off the tracks the Shell orchid rosettes are found as are the Pink fairy leaves. Then growing in the moss, right on the edge of the bitumen in the carpark area I find a lone, Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis)standing tall. Well actually only around 40mm in this particular case. This is the first time finding the species flowering at this location, which was exciting.
Nothing out of the ordinary found today, other than the Blue beard. It was a beautiful sunny winters day to go walking in the fresh air though, so well worth the effort.
Getting towards the end of the orchid season in the Esperance district, so we decide to go check out the reliable Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35). Prior to this though we have our usual cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park.
Moving onto the arboretum we first stop along side Plot 23(E) and find some blue sun orchids. Now the tricky bit is naming them as 4 different species flower in the Esperance district. I’m leaning toward the Shy sun orchid (Thelymitra graminea), which grows in woodlands and forests between Perth and Esperance during the months of October and November. They grow up to 350mm in height and have up to 8 flowers in their inflorescences. The colour ranges from dark blue to purple or mauve.
We now move down to the arboretum proper where we hope to find some Leopard orchids in flower. Driving along Boundary X we first come across bee orchids before Deb spies a Leopard orchid (Thelymitra benthamiana) which grows in seasonally moist flats between Northampton and Israelite Bay during the spring months of September through November. Further plants were found flowering along Boundary Z.
The bee orchids also took our attention and we grabbed some photos. From their markings they appear to be the Elegant donkey orchid (Diuris concinna) which grows in moist sites amongst low shrubs between Cape Arid and Fitzgerald River National Park. So a local orchid, which flowers from September to early December.
Moving along we drive down between Plots 85 & 86 as some mignonette orchids were visible from Brockman Road. The Common mignonette orchids (Microtis media subsp. media) grow in scrublands, woodlands and forests between Shark Bay and Eyre. Flowering occurs from September to January with plants growing up to 600mm in height.
We now explore further and locate more of the same, however the sun orchids are larger, with longer inflorescences and more varied in their colour. So I believe they are the Scented sun orchids (Thelymitra macrophylla)which grow in forests and open wandoo woodlands between Perth and Albany, however Florabase shows the Esperance Shire as being a location for this orchid. They flower from August to October and can reach a height of 1000mm with more than 15 flowers per orchid.
It has been a beautiful sunny spring Sunday, so getting out and exploring for orchids was a wonderful way to fill up the morning. However, as Deb starts her shift at 2pm it is time to head home and grab some lunch. Five species found today, with the sun orchids stealing the show, with 2 species from the Blue sun orchid complex and the Leopard orchid, the sole member from the Sienna sun orchid complex. Only 1 month left of spring so we may get to explore for orchids this season, only time will tell.
The orchid below I have not named as the flowers are small, refer blowfly for size comparison, and the stems are reddish coloured and quite thick. Leaves have all been eaten off so no help from them. If anyone can assist with the ID that would be appreciated.
Well, after yesterday spending some time looking for orchids near our coastal lakes, it was inevitable that we would venture out to Helm’s Arboretum (Helm’s Forestry Reserve) to check out what is still flowering in this amazing location. (Mud Map SE35)
We do not have to venture far before we stumble across some orchid beauty. In the section near the entrance, we find the following orchids:
Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa)
Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)
Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp.flava)
Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media)
Shy sun orchid (Thelymitra graminea)
Time is a moving and so must we, so onwards into the Arboretum we go. At the first road to the right, we turn off and slowly drive along looking out the windows. As soon as we spy something new, we pull over for a closer inspection. Along this track we find the following different orchids:
Little pink fairies (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)
Un-named Hybrid orchid (Caladenia flava x C. reptans)
Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia)
Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera)
Moving further into the Arboretum we stop at a specific spot to find the Rattle beaks and we are not disappointed. Other orchids our found across the track from the Rattle beaks.
Rattle beaks (Lyperanthus serratus)
Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)
Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis)
Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana)
Now to check out some further areas of this large reserve. We come across some more varied spider and sun orchids which may be different species, hybrids or just colour variants. Other orchids new for the day were also found and I will list these first.
Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans)
Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana)
Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians)
Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)
Now for pics of the varied spider and sun orchids found.
After a weekend off to recover from our road trip we had to get out to see what was still flowering around Esperance. Today we decided to check out the Kepwari Walk Trail which meanders between Woody and Wheatfield Lakes.
First orchid found is the locally abundant Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora), which comes in many shades of red, yellow and green. Size is also a variant; in that they can range from 250mm to 500mm in height and the flowers can be between 50 to 100mm across.
Then you come across spider orchids that don’t seem to fit the usual image of the Esperance king spider orchid however they are beautiful in their own right. I feel one is a hybrid between the Esperance king and Esperance white spider orchids, but this would need someone to clarify for me. Others maybe just unusual specimens.
Other spider orchids found include the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)and the Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans)which are also locally occurring species.
Final couple of orchids found are both yellow in colour but belong to completely different genera. First up is the common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which is found between Israelite Bay and Geraldton. The Elegant donkey orchid (Diuris concinna) on the other hand is restricted more locally between Cape Arid to Fitgerald River National Park.
At least 5 species found during a pleasant walk. Not too bad a way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Day one of our annual road trip. This time however we are travelling with a larger group and are heading up into the Pilbara, where orchids are not located, so I will be recording only the days which include finding orchids. We leave home at 7.45am and head up to West Beach to say goodbye to our grandkids, then as we are over that way we call into the Wind Farm for a quick gander.
Here we find the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta), Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii)and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia).Deb grabs some quick snaps before we head off west towards Munglinup.
Deb drops me off at the cleared block near the Munglinup Roadhouse, whilst she goes to the toilet. Walking back to meet her I find some donkey orchids in flower. From my knowledge or the area they are either Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) or South coast donkey orchids (Diuris brockmanii) which have very similar features and distribution.
From here we head to Ravensthorpe then north to Lake King, where we have a tavern lunch. With full bellies we head west toward Lake Grace. However along the way we look into the verge at South Buniche Nature Reserve. Here we locate 3 different species in the Pterostylis genre. First up is the common Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) followed by some snail orchids. These little guys could possibly be two different species due to their colouring and rosettes. The final orchid is the unique Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii).
We now move onto our planned overnight stay, the Jam Patch, in North Lake Grace. We expected other campers to be here, however we lucked into being all alone. Before setting up camp fully we venture off on the Red loop walk trail in search of orchids. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis setulosa) are the first orchid to be found.
At the edge of a flat granite rock I was lucky enough to stumble across some spider orchids. From the location alongside a granite rock I will take a stab and name these the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia)which occurs between Paynes Find and Norseman during July to September.
It was great to find some spider orchids as it was looking like a Pterostylis type of day. We kept walking the trail and came to the lake which provided great reflection shots and is where the featured image was taken. The only other orchids found though were a great bunch of more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. So I have posted a photo just to show the number of orchids in such a small location. Also posted a pic of our camp for the night. Was a nice day to start our road trip. Not as many orchid stops as usual, but this trip we are travelling much larger distances.
Running solo again today as Deb has an afternoon shift. I decide to go back to the Wind Farm to see if the Bird orchids have flowered yet. I discovered many rosettes back on the 11/07/2021, so it’s been 4 weeks.
After parking up, I start at the left of the parking lot and find some snail orchids in flower. Very difficult to name snail orchids. The size of the rosette and it’s leaves, length of lateral sepals and plant height varied greatly so there may actually be at least 2 species. Possible options are the Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. “coastal snail”), Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis grossa)or Thick-sepalled snail orchid (Pterostylis meridionalis).
I then started up the walking track and ran into a fellow orchid hunter, Kathy M. She was interested in the ID of a snail orchid she had found that had fawnish tones to it as well as one that seemed to have different rosette to others she had found. ID proves difficult and the species may be one of the previously listed options.
We spent quite a while checking out the Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) and the intermingled Bird orchid (Pterostylis sp.) rosettes, which unfortunately have yet to flower.
Kathy was going to check further down the road towards the coast, whilst I went into the scrub looking for the Pink fairy orchids (Caladenia latifolia) which Kathy had mentioned she had found. Three beautiful flowers found in full bloom. They were a very pale shade of pink, almost white in patches.
Flowering near the Pink fairies are some Curled tongue shell orchids (Pterostylis rogersii), which are a coastal shell orchid found from Binningup to Esperance.
I spend a few more minutes checking the area and come across further mosquito and shell orchids. I walk back to the car and head back towards the coast. A little ways down the track Kathy had parked up and was fossicking in the roadside scrub. I enquired if she had located much, to which she replied – there are some helmet orchids flowering. I pull over and take some photos of the small Crystal helmet orchid (Corybas limpidus) which flower during the period July to early September over a coastal range between Walpole and Esperance.
Other snail orchids found, which all have different features, which makes the task of identification very difficult. I have posted a flower and rosette shot for each distinct orchid and if you can provide any ideas on the likely identification, please do not hesitate to comment.
Now I head off to discover a new location to explore. Another orchid hunter Geoff R, advised me of this location on Twilight Beach Road near Observatory Point. Pulling over onto the limestone I jump out an immediately start exploring the low wind swept coastal scrub. Firstly had to watch my step as there are so many mosquito orchid leaves. Luckily I find one in flower as these orchids flower from June to August, so it is getting towards the end of their season.
Further into the scrub I come across some beautiful little snail orchids with dark sepals, both lateral and dorsal. Still unable to name these confusing little orchids. Moving back towards the car I find 3 Caladenia sp. orchids tempting me with there buds.
Along the vehicle track into the scrub, I come across many more snail orchids which only add to the confusion of ID.
Walking back however, I also discover some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) still in flower. Closer to the Triton I push back into the scrub and are rewarded with a couple of Curled-tongue shell orchids, mosquito orchids and a Caladenia sp. orchid in bud.
3.47 pm so time to move on. Plan was to pop up to Dempster Head and see if the Spectacled donkey orchid was flowering, however I change my mind and pull into Chapmans Point instead. Nothing found on the lookout walk so just made my way down towards the point and checked out underneath shrubs and around the granite rocks.
Have a guess what I found first. That’s right, some more confusing snail orchids. Also found other mosquito orchids in flower. It was an amazing warm sunny winters afternoon, so finding the orchids that I have, just made the day even better. Now time for home.
Planned family picnic cancelled, so we took the opportunity to go for a Sunday drive. Time to check the local area to see if we could find anything special. We headed west first, with a roadside stop producing only Caladenia leaves. We then pulled over for another roadside stop on the Gibson-Dalyup road, which proved more successful.
A donkey orchid catches my eye, then Deb notices I had walked past 2 plants to get to my find. Typical of me to miss ones that Deb then finds. Oh well, a find is a find. The orchid appears to be the Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) which occurs between Denmark and Esperance and flowers from July to September. Leaves of other species located but nothing yet in flower or already past their time.
We now move on to Gibson to see it we find anything new. Once we reach the track off Walker Road we chug along in 1st whilst hanging out the window looking for anything. I spy a nice big Caladenia leaf so pull over to go for an explore. Before that though I make coffees from the thermos. Deb finds a couple of Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) which we found here on a previous visit, however took some photos to record it nevertheless. Another Pterostylis orchid found however not fully open. The Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) will be a common sight soon enough.
Slightly disappointed with our luck so far today, so we move on to our Crawford Road location. Again we appear to be too early as we find many orchid leaves, with some in bud. So where to go now? Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) of course. Surely we will find something in flower there.
We decide to mix it up and turn down a track in the arboretum we had not checked out before. This lead us nowhere that seemed likely to produce orchids so we found our way back to known territory. First up though, we head to a sunny spot to have lunch. Curried egg sandwiches eaten whilst checking out nearby spots. Deb finds so many budding spider orchids in a spot we had not really checked before, so we now know where to check out later in the season.
Moving on we head to the location where we have previously found Western tiny blue orchids. Deb drops me off to walk through the plot, whilst she drives around the boundary. I find some what I believe to be Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) however one of them is quite dark so am not so sure. Could be Dark banded greenhoods or Mallee Banded greenhoods. Thoughts welcome on the ID. No tiny blues found as they are listed as flowering from August, so again we must be too early. EDIT: I have been advised by a knowledgeable person the green orchid is a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) (green form) due to opaque lateral sepals without stripes, compared to the earlier greenhood found. Also confirms Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula)for the darker greenhood. Thanks MP
Back on the main road into the arboretum Deb spies a small flowering spider orchid blowing in the strong winds. Very difficult conditions to try and get a good photo to assist with identification. I will provide two options. Either Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)or Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) as both flower early in July and extend into the Esperance area. What are your thoughts? EDIT:C. microchila has been identified by a knowledgeable person. Thanks MP.
Then it was time to check out the plot where we find our king spider orchids. Deb as usual finds the first one in flower. The Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) as the name suggests is found around Esperance. It actually ranges between Bremer Bay and Cape Arid and inland to Scaddan. It is said to flower from August to October so the few orchids we found today must be some early bloomers.
We then move on to the plot where we find snail orchids in most years. This time is no exception. The snail orchids grow from quite a large rosette of leaves, have 2 or 3 stem leaves on a smooth stem and uniformly thick lateral sepals. I have been advised by a knowledgeable person from the WA Native Orchid Facebook group that they are most likely the yet unnamed Helms snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Helms’). Also found some spider orchids in bud.
It’s now 2 pm so we make tracks for home as Deb commences her shift at 4 pm. Was not expecting to find 2 species of Spider orchids in flower so it turned out to be a great Sunday exploration.
As Deb has an afternoon shift, I am home alone at 2.30 pm, so what to do? Revisit my new location from 2 weeks ago sounds like a plan. So back to Pink Lake Lookout I go.
I make a bee line for the area I found the emerging shell orchids last time. There were more Caladenia leaves, some with small buds, and many Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) still in flower along the way.
I approach the location from above the shrub rather than below and it provides a better view. I am very happy to discover numerous orchids are now in flower. They are Curled-tongue shell orchids (Pterostylis rogersii) which are a coastal orchid found between Binningup and Esperance. As with all shell orchids they grow in colonies which makes for tricky photographs, as there are so many rosettes that need to be avoided. Even though there may be lots of rosettes in the colony, only a few orchids actually flower each season.
Now I move back towards the track and locate the Mosquito orchid leaves which were in bud last visit. Unfortunately they have yet to flower. Not to worry as Deb has advised me that there are Mosquito orchids flowering at the Wind Farm, so I walk back to the Ford and head off to visit there.
After parking the Ford, I make my way along the walk track to the Wind turbine. It is along the edge of the track that I locate the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) in flower. I happily sit down on the ground to grab a few snaps.
More mosquito orchids are found further along the track and then a very dark specimen catches my eye. I kneel down to grab some snaps and whilst doing this I notice that there are bird orchid rosettes growing underneath the nearby shrub. Oh my this is awesome. I will now have to re-visit this location later in the season to see if any of them flower.
No further orchids are found on the small walkway from the Wind turbine to a lookout. I take in the amazing view over the bay and the Nine Mile Wind Farm. I am actually in the 10 Mile Lagoon Wind Farm which I found out by reading the information at the picnic shelter. I did not know there were 2 wind farms built about 10 years apart. We learn something new everyday LOL.
I go for a wander before returning to the Ford and come across more mosquito orchid leaves and bird orchid rosettes, which confirms that I will have to return later. A great 2 hours spent in the outdoors on a cold winters Sunday.