06/09/2021 ….. Dwellingup to Wellington National Park

Manea Park, National Parks, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Wellington NP, Western Australian Orchids

After a fun night sharing Father’s Day with my brother in Dwellingup, we awake to a fine sunny day. Then after breakfast, we make tracks for the coastal plain. The first orchid stop for the day is at an unnamed Nature Reserve on Burnside Road in Meelon. First up we find the old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which comes in varying shades of yellow and with varied markings. Unlike last year, this is the only orchid species found.

Slightly disappointed, we move on to Manea Park (Mud Map SW5) near Bunbury. After parking up, we immediately hit the walking trail, however, it takes a little while to find our first orchid. We spend just over and hour walking the loop path and we find many orchids. Donkey orchids are found and I believe some of them to be the Kemerton donkey orchid (Diuris cruenta) which flowers late August to October in a restricted range from Capel to Lake Clifton. A distinguishing feature listed in my reference book, is the lateral lobes to the labellum are yellow at their base and reddish at the tip. Other donkey orchids are found that may be a different species, as on a previous visit, I named 3 species found in the Bunbury area.

Another orchid found throughout the park was the snail orchid. From what i can tell they mostly resemble the Red sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens) due to the colouring of the flower, the numerous stem leaves and long lateral sepals.

Then some stunning spider orchids are found. The large white spider orchid appear to be the Coastal white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. calcigena) due the location only, as the features of the subspecies are all similar in C. longicauda. However others seem to match the Sandplain white spider orchid (Caladenia speciosa) which has long messy labellum fringe segments and may also be found in this location. As per usual any input in identification would be welcomed.

As usual the good olde Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) shows up, as does the common Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva). Even though they are common orchids, it is still nice to come across some in this location.

A first for this location is also found, which is exciting. The Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) is one of two species in this Western Australian endemic genus. This particular orchid was being watched over by a local Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa subsp. rugosa).

Other common orchids found along the walk include the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and the small Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) which was found growing around the base of a large tree.

Another small patch of snail orchids is found. From the hairy stem , to the pointed hood, it all leads to me believe they are more Red sepaled snail orchids. A very darkly marked donkey orchid is also found. Could possibly be the Purple pansy orchid (Diuris longifolia) or just a darker version of the Kemerton donkey orchid. Again, let me know your thoughts.

Had to grab a pic of how tall the donkey orchids were, before we leave Manea Park. We then made our way into Bunbury to the Farmers Market to have lunch and buy some supplies. On the highway welcoming people into Bunbury was a large billboard featuring the wonderful Cowslip orchids. Had to grab a pic of that as well. From here we make our way into the hills to check out the Wellington Dam mural. What an amazing sight, so of course it made it as the feature picture for this post. Finding a camping site took a while but we set ourselves up for the night and enjoyed another night under the stars in the great outdoors.

03/09/2021 ….. Northam to Bedfordale Pt2

Beelu NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, St Ronans NR, Wandoo NP, Western Australian Orchids

After leaving Mokine Nature Reserve we make our way south down Wambyn Road to St Ronans Nature Reserve (Mud Map E 7). We park up at the NW boundary of the park and go exploring. My first orchid found is the Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which is a rather common orchid flowering between Northampton and Esperance. They are always a pleasure to find though and range from pale to vivid pink in colour.

Also found is a lone Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata), which is referred to as a common wheatbelt orchid, given its distribution from Wongan Hills to Jerramungup. This specimen stands a good 300mm in height and they are recorded as growing to 400mm in height.

Next up a patch of yellow is seen. Getting closer it is confirmed to be a donkey orchid and appears to be a Small flowered donkey orchid (Diuris porrifolia) which can have up to 7 flowers per orchid. Florabase confirms they are located in the Northam and York shires so the location is covered. The other possibility is the common donkey orchid which is similar though larger in size. Thoughts??

Finally we come across a new orchid for the day. The bright white Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is found as two scattered individuals, which is light on when compared to the dozens we have found growing elsewhere in previous seasons. Ericksonella is a another monotypic genus endemic to Western Australia.

The final orchid for this location is another yellow orchid. The reliable Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is found with markings similar to the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid, though this orchid flowers from late September and is located further south. I have read that the boundaries are quite unpredictable with the subspecies but I’m happy to call it the plain cowslip.

We can’t spend an hour at each site, so we move onto Mount Observation in the Wandoo National Park to show Richard what we found here last year. Let’s hope they are flowering this season. On the drive in we spy a nice white spider orchid. I believe it to be the White Spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. longicauda) which is known to grow in the area and does occur in gravelly ground.

We then make our way up to the picnic area and park up, to go exploring. Not much around here but we did come across a couple of Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which is another monotypic genus, however this time is located along the whole of southern Australia including Tasmania. The most distinctive feature which alludes to the common name, is the dense mass of calli and short fringe segments to the upright labellum.

Walking back to the Tritons, Deb and I come across some Green spider orchids. Then a rocky incline, above the parking area, I find some more Small flowered donkey orchids.

Hidden by a log right where we parked is a couple of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which are a unique shaped orchid from the Pterostylis genus. They have also been referred to as the Recurved shell orchid, Antelope orchid and Bull orchid.

We now move on and stop at an area we have found other orchids before. The Clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia longiclavata) is again found growing on the verges. As the common names alludes both the sepals and petals are clubbed, with the former being long, thick, grooved clubs and the later small, thin clubs.

However some seem to be the often co-located Big clubbed spider orchid (Caladenia magniclavata) which is distinguished by having down-swept petals and lateral sepals and the clubs to the lateral sepals being approx 50% of the length. The Clubbed spider orchids clubbing is around 30% of the length in comparison.

More Little pink fairies were located as were some awesome Bird orchids (Pterostylis barbata) which are the most widespread of the bird orchids, ranging from Bindoon and Albany. I am amazed at the structure of these orchids with their beak, bloated body and feather duster like labellum.

Also found mixed in with the Clubbed spiders, Big clubbed spiders, Pink fairies and Bird orchids were more Blue beards and Jug orchids.

Finally we move on and close to the end of the track, near the Great Southern Highway we find some more donkey orchids and a Sugar orchid.

Turning south at Mundaring we travel along Mundaring Weir Road and make an on the spot decision to stop at Gungin Gully in the Beelu National Park for our last exploration of the day. We hit the bush and first orchid found is another Jug orchid quickly followed by a Bird orchid. In fact we find so many bird orchids, it is mind blowing.

Another Pterostylis sp. is found amongst the flock of Bird orchids. A small snail orchid is found, however I will not endeavour to name it based on one specimen. If you have any ideas on the ID please contact me.

Another Small flowered donkey orchid is found together with a very finished Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). I took photos of both just to record their location.

The highlight of today was finding numerous Silky blue orchids (Cyanicula sericea) which is a common orchid in the western part of its distribution whilst becoming rarer in the eastern parts. Distribution is Jurien Bay to Condingup. The black spotted labellum is a distinctive feature of this orchid.

It’s 3pm so time to make our way to Sandy and Noel’s place in Bedfordale, where we will crash the night. Over the next couple days I train down to Mandurah to visit my mum and sister Maxine, then catch up with the in-laws for a Father’s Day breakfast near the Swan River, then pop up to my brothers place in Dwellingup, where we grab another bed for the night.

Another great day with at least 17 species of orchid found.

03/09/2021 ….. Northam to Bedfordale Pt1

Mokine NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a nice, dry, warm sleep we awake to another beautiful spring morning. Leaving Northam we head south down Spencers Brook Road to near Mokine, where we turn into Mokine Road. Next we turn at Leaver Road and find Mokine Nature Reserve, our first stop for the day. The first orchid found for the day is the Green spider orchid or Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which is the most widespread of the falcata complex orchids. The prominently clubbed lateral sepals emit pheromone-like odours to attract male thynnine wasps who pollinate the flowers.

Well the next orchid is the bright yellow Common donkey orchid (Diuris corymbosa) which flowers from August to October and is distributed between Gingin and Bunbury, then inland to Brookton. Donkey orchids are also called Pansy orchids by some, and the shape of the flower matches both common names to a tee.

Next up is the ever faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava) which is arguably the most widespread species of terrestrial orchid in Western Australia. The location we find ourselves in, leads me to believe the orchids growing here are the subspecies “flava”, which is also the most widespread of the 4 named subspecies. These orchids can be found in their hundreds, however we only find scattered individuals and clumps.

Next up we find some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) in both their green and brown forms. These orchids are nearing the end of their season as they are noted as flowering from June to September.

Another related orchid is also located. The distinctive Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is found from Geraldton to Israelite Bay, is another orchid that is regularly found on our treks. This orchid ranges in colour during it’s lifecycle from green to light brown, with the 3 pictured showing this feature.

Then another bright colour catches our eye. A dual-flowered Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found growing on the road verge. The purple underside to the leaf is a feature to help distinguish it from the other pink fairies.

Further into the reserve I go to try and find anything else and as luck has it I come across a lone Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea), standing tall in the open. In fact they can be up to 450mm in height, however this specimen was around 270mm in height. The short, horizontal petals and lateral sepals are a distinctive feature of this small orchid. And just to record the sighting we did also find a still recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata), which flower March to June.

What a great little spot this turned out to be. We have spent just over 1hr here and have found 8 orchid species. Next time we will need to explore further into the reserve as we were only a few metres in from the road this time. As it is now after 11am we make tracks for our next exploration site.

02/09/2021 ….. Koorda to Northam

Cartamulligan Well NR, Moonijin NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After enjoying a very basic continental breakfast at the Koorda hotel we make our way along the Dowerin – Koorda Road, as we have not recorded driving this way before. We love breaking new ground so to speak, as this opens up our search area for orchids. With this in mind our first location visited is the Booralaming Sports Centre, a random piece of uncleared land chosen from Google Maps, whilst driving along. After checking out the old play equipment and abandoned tennis pavilion we get stuck into looking for orchids.

First orchid found was a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa), which is not a great specimen. Photo taken just to record the finding. Next up we find another orchid in better numbers. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is a common inland orchid which is a monotypic genus, endemic to WA.

A donkey orchid is then found with a huge clump found later on back near the pavilion. From the location and the following features: reflexed lateral sepals, broad rounded petals, and broad dorsal sepal, I am calling these Mottled donkey orchids (Diuris suffusa).

Next up is a wonderful trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which have a broad smooth labellum with a central band of calli. The more south the location the longer the band of calli. Refer the post from the 01/09/2021 for an image of a northern form.

Then a nice surprise, some spider orchids are found. The yellow coloured ones I believe to be the Primrose spider orchid (Caladenia xantha) which flower until early September which explains the spent specimen found. The colouring ranges from pale to vivid yellow, which includes the labellum. EDIT: hugo_innes suggested an ID in iNaturalist Australia that they may be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) due to the north/east location.

White coloured spider orchids also present and I thought they are probably the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), however after posting to a Facebook page a knowledgeable person advised they thought they were the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens), due to the broad labellum, which is usually small in most other white wispy styled orchids.

We did get distracted with a large rubbish dump which gave us reason to scavenge, however we finally made our way back to the Triton’s and moved on westwards. Our next stop was at Moonijin Nature Reserve. We parked up near a creek depression and went exploring. First orchid found was the small Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is by far the most widespread of these little orchids of the P. gracile complex.

Next up a beautiful spider orchid is found. A single specimen firstly, then an amazing clump of flowers. The Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) can be either yellow, cream or pink-red in colour so they can easily be confused with other similar species from the C. filamentosa complex.

After finding the clump of spider orchids, it was nice to find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) which range from very pale pink to vivid pink in colour. They always have bright pink calli on the labellum, unless you are lucky enough to find a lutea form. The white form found could actually be the related Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) as they do overlap in distribution, but maybe not this far inland.

Then another colour grabs our eyes. A donkey orchid is found which is probably the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) due to the broad, reflexed dorsal sepal, reflexed lateral sepals and of course the location.

Also found were more Ant orchids, so after taking some more photos we move onwards to our next stop.

We stop off in Dowerin and grab some lunch at the Dowerin Bakery, before moving on to an unnamed Nature Reserve on Berring-Nambling Road, south-west of town. First up we find more Pink candy orchids and other ones that seem to be Candy orchids, as they are larger and white in colour.

Woohoo, another new orchid for the day. The Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) has a distinctive look, which the common name suggests. Even the dorsal sepal in usually drooping. A clumping spider orchid, we are lucky to find some great clumps as well. These orchids are a common inland species found from Northampton to Jerramungup, during the months August through October.

Then some bright yellow catches our eye. The cheerful Cowslip orchid is found and from the markings it appears to be the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. “late red“) which is also identified by the leaf being regularly longer than the flower scape. However we are around 80kms north of the recorded distribution and they flower from late September, so these may just be the standard cowslip (C. flava subsp. flava) which vary greatly in size and colouring.

It’s now past 2pm so we had better keep moving. We pass through Goomalling and head toward Northam. We make one last stop at Cartamulligan Well Nature Reserve which has Southern Brook running through the middle. We turn off Watson road into a gravelled area and go exploring. It is quite weedy so unsure how successful we will be with finding many orchids.

Surprisingly, the first orchid discovered is the Candy orchid or maybe its the Pink candy orchid. As mentioned previously their distributions overlap and subsp. rosea can be very pale pink in colour, even appearing white, so identification can be difficult. Let me know your thoughts on the ID for these ones.

Definite Pink candy orchids are found later on and these are pics of some of them.

Excitedly we find a new species for the day. This orchid is common but we still get excited when something new is found on any given day. The Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis) is the only species in the genus Pheladenia. Given it’s common name, it is interesting to note that they do come in a white variety, though these are rare.

The last orchid to be recorded for today is also the first one found, back at the Booralaming Sports Centre. You guessed it, the Hairy-stemmed snail orchid, which again is a common orchid, although restricted to inland areas. Unlike this morning though, they are found in numbers at this location.

Just before 4pm we make tracks for Northam, our planned overnight stop. We are being soft tonight and book a motel room at the Dukes Inn. Here we enjoy a beautiful meal and comfy beds. At least 13 species found today, which is awesome.

01/09/2021 ….. Canna to Koorda

Bowgada NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

We awaken to an overcast morning, so have breakfast before packing up just as it starts to drizzle. It is decided to check out the surroundings a bit further before heading off. We again find and take photos of the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) and the Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which were previously found yesterday afternoon.

Heading back toward the Mullewa – Wubin Road we pull over on the verge of Offszanka Road at a spot that had been taped off. Here we found a Mallee fowl mound and some nice wildflowers, but no orchids.

Hitting the road again we head south to Morawa where we enjoy a great coffee at a popup stall, before grabbing a bite to eat at the bakery. Deb even gets in a spot of shopping with items purchased as Christmas presents. Moving on we pull over at Bowgada and looked around, including venturing into the Bowgada Nature Reserve. First up we find some more Dainty blue orchids before stumbling across some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei). These orchids occur over a large area and there are differences between southern and northern populations. These northern orchids have fewer calli on their labellum.

Just as we were about to move, on a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa) was located standing tall, with nearby Dainty blue orchids. These are the most common inland snail orchid and they flower from late June right through to September.

Finally on the road again. 2 hours further south we turnoff at Kondut and pull over at a road side verge to stretch our legs. On our wander we discover some donkey orchids. Due to location, colouring and reflexed lateral sepals I believe they are Dainty donkey orchids (Diuris refracta).

Also found, which is very exciting were some spider orchids. Over the area numerous plants were found with differing colours, however the erect petals lead me to name then the Ironcaps spider orchid (Caladenia paradoxa). It is named the Mystery spider orchid in the Spider Orchids eBook 2018, which matches the scientific name better as this alludes to the difficulty in resolving it as a distinct species.

However a very yellow coloured spider orchid must be a different species. Upon checking my references I feel it could be the Yellow spider orchid (Caladenia denticulata subsp denitculata). The features that help with this ID are the yellowish-green colour of the flower and the petals and sepals arching out before drooping.

Then another spider orchid with a large broad labellum is found, whilst the Ironcaps spider orchid has a small labellum. The orchid is white in colour so is not the Yellow spider orchid either, It may be the Common spider orchid but again this has a small labellum, so I will not attempt to name it this time. As with all my ID’s any assistance provided would be appreciated.

We still have around an hour of driving before reaching Koorda, where we have booked a room at the hotel for the night, so we had to move on. Not a bad jag with this roadside stop. Possibly three or more species of spider orchids, though they could all be one. ID is so hard with the wispy type of spider orchids.

Our overnight stay

31/08/2021 ….. South Murchison to Canna

Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

Well after 17 days without seeing any orchids, today should be the day we find some as we are now inland as far south as Kalbarri. Together with Richard, we have been following “The  Wool Wagon Pathway” since leaving the others at the North West Coastal Hwy near Barradale. As usual we are travelling the pathway in reverse. Our first stop today is at Marker 3 – Yuin Station, which was apparently one of the first in the district. Nothing to see now, not even ruins. Prior to reaching Marker 2 we pull over at a creek crossing as the extra moisture in the surrounding scrub may now include orchids.

As is usual Deb finds the first orchid. The little Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) is an excellent find to start us off on our obsession. These orchids are found inland from north of Kalbarri to Norseman, flowering from August to early October. 

Whilst I cross the road to get a photo of the Dainty blue orchid Deb also discovers a Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa), which is found over a larger inland range than the Dainty blue orchid.

We move onto Marker 2 which is “The Crossroads at Bumbinyoo Flats”. This was as the name suggests an intersection in the roads/pathways at which an inn and store was constructed close to a nearby spring. It only lasted a few years as it was abandoned once the Yalgoo railway line opened up. Again, there was nothing left to see.

Further south we ran into a tourist Mecca. The Wreath flowers (Lechenaultia macrantha) north of Pindar attract so many people that the shire has constructed a branch in the main road, to keep all the traffic off the road itself. Even though they are not an orchid, we had to get some photos and I have posted a couple as they are so beautiful and unique.

Moving on we arrive at Pindar, which is the starting point of the Wool Wagon Pathway, however for us it is the end. We had planned lunch here, but their is nothing now in the town, other than interpretive signage and one beautiful stone building. So onwards we go, west to Mullewa where we enjoyed an amazing meal at Inspirations Mullewa.

Overnight at Canna decided upon, so off we go, heading south. We are lucky enough to find room at the Canna hall/church site, which has hot water showers available. After setting up camp we go exploring the walk trails. Oh it so nice to be back in Orchid territory. First up we find some more Dainty blue orchids flowering singerly or in small clumps.

Not a huge number of orchids found however there are some donkey orchids flowering as well. From the prominently reflexed lateral sepals I believe them to be the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris fefracta) which flowers during July to September over an inland range from Bindoon to Northampton.

Near the granite rock outcrop at the end of the major walk trail we also come across the Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera) which flowers from July to October over a large range from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay.

Hiding underneath a shrub we were lucky enough to find a hybrid orchid flowering, but not lucky enough for it to be open. The parents would be the Lemon-scented sun orchid and a Blue sun orchid, which produce a beautiful pink coloured sun orchid.

Next up we find the small Little laughing leek orchids ( Prasophyllum gracile) in flower. These are another widespread orchid which flower from July to October.

Then we finally find the ever popular Cowslip orchid, however these ones appear to be the subspecies called the Kalbarri cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata), which is found in the northern parts of the listed cowslip orchid range. The usual distinguishing feature is the markings are usually spots, however the number of marginal teeth on the labellum, verify the ID. The Kalbarri cowslip has 4 to 8 teeth, whilst the other 3 subspecies have only 2 or 3 teeth.

Amazingly we only find one spider orchid in flower. A distinguishing feature that helped name this orchid was the broad, squat, glossy-white calli. The Glistening spider orchid (Caladenia insensum) flowers from June to September over a range between Hyden and Nerren Nerren Station, growing on granite outcrops and nearby drainage lines.

Time to head back to camp, have a hot shower, cook dinner then grab some ZZZZ’s. Seven orchid species found, plus one hybrid, so it has been a good first day back in orchid territory.

14/08/2021 ….. Jam Patch, Nth Lake Grace to Minnivale

Minnivale NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

Waking up to the sound of nature is an amazing experience. After breakfast we break camp and head straight to Kulin, to fuel up. Then we make our way to the Macrocarpa Wildflower Trail just out of town on the Corrigin Road. As usual we drive around the trail stopping as we spot an orchid and then one of us is usually walking it as well. The first orchid for the day is the ever reliable Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which starts it’s season in August.

Next up some bright colours grab our attention. The Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) stand out in the grey green colours of the surrounding scrub. Further specimens are found further around the trail, though I will record photos of each type only once, to minimise the size of this post.

Further along the small spider orchids start to appear. They do appear to be various species so will attempt to group them into separate lots. The first ones I’ll name are the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which is a variable coloured wispy type of spider orchid. The ones found and posted below are a creamy white, yellowish in colour with drooping sepals

Next up though is the Green spider orchid (Caladenia falcata) which was previously named the Fringed mantis orchid. These orchids are found between Wongan Hills and Jerramungup and have distinctive upswept narrowly clubbed lateral sepals.

Another small spider orchid, this time possibly the Joseph’s spider orchid (Caladenia polychroma) is found. As both the Chameleon and Joseph’s spider orchids are variably coloured I used the broader labellum to identify these ones as Joseph’s spider orchids.

In the middle of all these spider orchids we do find some small Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis setulosa). These little guys are the most common, inland, snail orchid being found between Kalbarri and Balladonia.

Also discovered was the Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which is another common inland orchid. This orchid is a monotypic genus endemic to Western Australia. This means it is the only species in the genus Ericksonella.

Final orchid of the location was the small Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii), which has recently been split into two species. The distinctive labellum is actually different between the two types. Some of the ones found have spikes to their appearance which I have not seen before.

I will post photos of Wispy style spider orchids found but I cannot name them with any certainty. So much variation in appearance with these little spider orchids makes it very difficult to ID them.

It is now after 12 so we had better keep moving as we still have a long way to travel today. Unfortunately, Deb starts to feel unwell so we end up driving directly to Minnivale, our planned destination for today, with no further stops for orchid searches. After reaching Minnivale and with the help of our friends Bob and Jan we set up camp. I then take a late afternoon stroll into the Minnivale Nature Reserve to see if I could find anything.

I come across some Frog greenhoods hiding in the undergrowth as well as some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. Then after some 20 mins I finally found a new orchid for the day. From the lateral sepals being prominently reflexed I believe I have found the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta). It is recorded as being in the Dowerin local government area by Florabase.

Time to end the day in the company of good friends. Other friends arrive later, including Richard, our regular travelling companion. We hit the sack after a long day traveling with the knowledge we have got so much more to come.

Road Trip 2019 – Ravensthorpe to Esperance

National Parks, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stokes NP

08/09/2019

After a wonderful night at our son’s place it is time to head off on the final day of our road trip. Leaving Ravensthorpe we make our way to Mt Desmond lookout, off Elverdton Road. Growing alongside the newly grader road to the lookout, were some small Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta). Felt lucky to find them as the roadworks had cleared the places we had found orchids on previous visits. These little orchids are found from Dumbleyung to Mt Ragged during the period August to early-October. Also found closer to Elverdton Road was a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is a common orchid, found flowering between Geraldton and Israelite Bay during August through October.

Moving further east, we visit another of our favourite spots, Mills Road near Munglinup. Deb finds the first of many orchids found in this location. The 4 orchids are hybrids of the Caladenia sp. Unable to positively ID so will just post some photos. I think Caladenia radialis or Caladenia brevisura may one of the parents. Please assist with ID if you can.

Found very close-by are some Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana). These small orchids flower from August to early-November in a southerly range from Lancelin to Esperance.

Intermixed with the Zebra orchids was a Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which adds to the possibility that it is a parent of the hybrid orchids found earlier. These orchids are found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay during the months of August and September.

After further exploration a sole green spider orchid was discovered. However many more were found after further searching. The Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) is as the name suggests, smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, we found earlier in the road trip. Flowering season is August to early-October and the Small mantis orchid is found between Jerramungup and Israelite Bay,

Another spider orchid is found, this time from the filamentosa complex. The Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) flowers from August to early-October between Fitzgerald River National Park and Balladonia. The Cream spider orchid is also listed as having rare hybrids with the short-sepaled spider orchid, so it may be another parent of the previously mentioned hybrids found at this site.

A single spider orchid from the same complex, but another species is found. This time the smaller Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) is found. Smaller labellum, thinner sepals and whiter colouring provide me with this identification.

The final orchid found in this location is the small Western tiny blue orchid.

As it is only mid-morning we decide to visit Stokes National Park, before finally heading for home. Upon arriving at the campground we immediately spy some king spider orchids. One of them is a bit worse for wear with his labellum eaten out. Non damaged specimens found with variations in colour, from bright red to pale green so identifying these will be interesting, as both the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) and Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) occur in this location and they are difficult to tell apart. They may also hybridise with each other, so ID will not be attempted at this time. Lots of photos below to show my dilemma.

Well we thought there were lots of king spider orchids, but there is also as many Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia), which flower from August to early-November between Kalbarri and Israelite Bay. Here they range in size and colour, which just adds to the thrill of finding so many.

Some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) were also found, whilst pushing into the scrub to grab photos of the Pink fairies. Moving on, we leave the campground and drive back towards the intersection to the day area,where we had previously found orchids. We were not disappointed as we find a few Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) in flower. These are widespread sun orchids found from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay during the months July through October.

Also found at this corner is the every popular Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which is also a widespread orchid with a long flowering period. These ones were a bit unusual as they had white tips to the petals. Usually solid yellow with markings.

Final orchid found for the day was a unique spider orchid, which we last found at Helms Arboretum a few years back. A single Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) is found growing in the roadside drain under the protection of overhanging banksia bushes. Found between Mt Manypeaks and Israelite Bay during August and September this orchid self pollinates so is in flower for only a few days at the most,so we are very lucky to have found one in flower.

One hour from home and nearly noon so we decide to make tracks, so we can have lunch in our own home. Mixed emotions as we remember the last 2 weeks during this last hour of our 2019 Road Trip.

The first week did not go to plan however we made up for it by visiting Margaret River and tasting a few wines. Then we had a great time catching up with friends from our Rural youth days before our 2nd week, which did not include the planned visit to Charles Darwin Reserve, however we discovered some great new un-planned locations. A special catch up with my cousin Mary-lou that included meeting the eldest cousin Ian for the first time. Only took 55 years.

The major purpose of our road trip, other than having fun getting out in the great Western Australian outdoors, is the discovery of our very special terrestrial orchids, most of which are endemic to WA. On this note we located 70 species/sub species of orchids from 10 genera, with multiple hybrids and hypochromic variants. Refer this post for their details. 2019 Road Trip – Orchids Found

So privileged to witness the natural beauty of our amazing little corner of the world!!!!!!

2019 Road Trip – Orchids Found

List of Orchids Found, Numerous days, Road Trip

I have listed the orchids found in chronological order

24/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Ravensthorpe to Nunijup Lake

25/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Nunijup Lake to Redmond West (Mundal 4WD Track)

26/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Redmond West to North Walpole

27/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – North Walpole to Shannon

28/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Shannon to Sue’s Bridge

29/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Sue’s Bridge to Margaret River

30/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Margaret River

31/08/2019

2019 Road Trip – Margaret River to Bedfordale

02/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Bedfordale to Caron Dam Reserve via Lake Indoon

03/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Caron Dam Reserve to Burakin

04/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Burakin to Beringbooding Rock

05/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Beringbooding Rock to Narembeen

06/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Narembeen to Flat Rock Nature Reserve

07/09/2019

2019 Road Trip – Flat Rock Nature Reserve to Ravensthorpe

08/09/2019

Road Trip 2019 – Ravensthorpe to Esperance