Successful sharing – Boyatup and more

Day Trip


We are collected from our home by Eric and his father, for an orchid adventure out east of Esperance. We will be showing them our Boyatup location ( Mud Map SE 40) and in return we get chauffeured and have the chance to discuss our findings, views, information and thoughts on our beautiful terrestrial orchids. Enjoying the great outdoors by taking nothing but photographs and leaving only footprints.

Our Boyatup location had been affected by bushfire last summer, so this will be our first visit since early August. It will interesting to see which orchids are in flower later in the season after a summer bushfire.

As usual we turn off fisheries Road into the track leading to the rock and jump out once the first orchid is spied. Seen by Deb of course :). Following will be photos taken of the orchids found along this first part of the track.

Purple Enamel Orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

The Purple enamel orchid was named in 1963.

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Red beaks

Pyrorchis nigricans

One of the 2 species found in Western Australia.

Red beaks were named in 1810 and placed in the Lyperanthus genus before being moved into the Pyrorchis genus in 1994.

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

One of the 18 species in the Laxiflora complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Common bee orchid was named in 2013

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

One of the 4 subspecies of Cowslip orchid (caladenia flava) found in Western Australia

The Cowslip orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

Is the single Western Australian species of the Lyperanthus genus

Rattle beaks were named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 500mm

We have now reached the gravel pit so drive across this to the track leading to the granite outcrop named Boyatup hill. Back in August we found loads of Pink bunny orchids and Blue beards, plus other orchids in smaller numbers. Let’s see what is now in flower. The following photos are of the orchids found in the area which was burnt by last summers bushfire.

Red beaks

Pyrorchis nigricans

Granite china orchid

Cyanicula nikulinskyae

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Granite china orchid was named in 2000

Can grow to a height of 130mm

White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba

One of the 10 species found in Western Australia

White mignonette orchid named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 600mm

Tall leek orchid

Prasophyllum elatum

One of the 16 species in the Elatum complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Tall leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 1200mm

Pointing spider orchid

Caladenia exstans

One of the 9 species in the Falcata complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Pointing spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm

Zebra orchid

Caladenia cairnsiana

One of the 2 species in the Cairnsiana complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Zebra orchid was named in 1869

Can grow to a height of 400mm

Pink candy orchid

Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea

One of 2 subspecies in the Hirta complex of the Caladenia genus in Western Australia

Pink candy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Hypochromic variant

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. flava

Rabbit orchid

Leptoceras menziesii

Is the only member of the genus Leptoceras

Rabbit orchids were named in 1810 and placed in the Caladenia genus before being moved into the monotypic genus Leptoceras in 1840.

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

One of the 22 species in the Huegelii complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance king spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm

Dusky fairy orchid

Caladenia x erminea

Hybrid between Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava) and White fairy orchid (Caladenia marginata)

Dusky fairy orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 160mm

Beautiful donkey orchid

Diuris pulchella

One of the 26 species in the Corymbosa complex of the Diuris genus found in Western Australia

Beautiful donkey orchid was named in 1991

Can grow to a height of 500mm

Western wispy spider orchid

Caladenia microchila

One of the 43 species in the Filamentosa complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Western wispy spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa

One of the 14 subspecies of C. longicauda, which is one of the 14 species in the Longicauda complex of the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Esperance white spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 500mm

Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana

One of 22 species of the Huegelii complex in the Caladenia genus found in Western Australia

Heberle’s spider orchid was named in 2001

Can grow to a height of 450mm

White fairy orchid

Caladenia marginata

One of the 4 species in the Latifolia complex of the Calendenia genus found in Western Australia

White fairy orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 200mm

Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Custard orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 600mm

Blue china orchid

Cyanicula gemmata

One of 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Blue china orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 150mm

Condingup china orchid

Cyanicula sp. ‘Esperance’

One of the 8 species in the Gemmata complex of the Cyanicula genus found in Western Australia

Condingup china orchid was first collected in 1996 but is yet to be formally named

Can grow to a height of 150mm

Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

One of 4 species in the Gracile complex of the Prasophyllum genus found in Western Australia

Laughing leek orchid was named in 1810

Can grow to a height of 300mm

Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa

One of 13 species in the Barbata complex of the Pterostylis genus found in Western Australia

Bearded bird orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 200mm

Hybrid spider orchid

Caladenia x

Unnamed hybrid orchid. Possible parents: C. decora: C. longicauda: C. heberleana: C. hirta:

Lunch time and it’s time we move on. Eric wishes to show us a location where he has previously found the Holy Grail of orchids: Queen of Sheba orchid. He did not have to ask us twice. After having a bite to eat we head off at this new location, just off Parmango Road. Immediately we come across a new orchid, that Deb and myself had never seen. The following orchids are the ones found at this new location, which is now firmly added to our must visit sites.

Twisted sun orchid

Thelymitra flexuosa

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Twisted sun orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 350mm

Purple enamel orchid

Elythanthera brunonis

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Cowslip orchid

Caladenia flava subsp. ?

Rattle beaks

Lyperanthus serratus

White mignonette orchid

Microtis alba

Custard orchid

Thelymitra villosa

Dancing spider orchid

Caladenia discoidea

A distinct species of the Caladenia genus endemic to Western Australia

Dancing spider orchid was named in 1839

Can grow to a height of 450mm

Lemon-scented sun orchid

Thelymitra antennifera

One of the 6 species in the Antennifera complex of the Thelymitra genus found in Western Australia

Lemon-scented sun orchid was named in 1840

Can grow to a height of 250mm

Jug orchid

Pterostylis recurva

A unique species of the Pterostylis genus endemic to Western Australia

Jug orchid was named in 1873

Can grow a height of 900mm


What a great new location this was off Parmango Road. Time to move on, so we take Eric and his father to our original location off Coolinup road which is on the other side of Condingup. Here we first visit the gravel pit, then decide to bush bash down to our small granite location. The orchids listed below were found on that bush bash plus around the small granite location.

Esperance king spider orchid

Caladenia decora

Laughing leek orchid

Prasophyllum macrostachyum

Heberle’s spider orchid

Caladenia heberleana

Common bee orchid

Diuris decrementa

Bearded bird orchid

Pterostylis turfosa

Purple enamel orchid

Elythranthera brunonis

It proved a very successful day with Boyatup proving itself once again to be a magnificent location for orchids, with this season especially good after last summers bushfire. Thanks to Eric for sharing his Parmango Road location we finally got to see the Twisted sun orchid in bloom and Eric the custard orchid. Nearly 6 hrs spent searching for orchids in great company.

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 15 – Our Last Day :(

Numerous days, Road Trip


You could not ask for a better morning. Bright sunshine and beautiful blue sky. What better way to start the day than bacon and eggs on Deb’s campfire baked bread.

We head South from the campground and skirt around north of Peak Eleanora towards Dog Rock. This track provided us one last reminder of the Holland Track – Bog holes. Rather than continue to Dog Rock we turn North at the first intersection and travel up to Lake King – Norseman Road. After travelling due West north-west for a while we reach a sharp turn to the South south-west. At this turning, we stop at Ninety Mile Tank, which was once covered by a tin roof but is now in need of some tender loving care.

You would not have known we were on a gazetted road as the state of it was atrocious. Well in the Shire of Esperance it was very poor but upon crossing the shire boundary into Shire of Ravensthorpe it improved greatly. Onwards through Frank Hann National Park to Lake King. We called into the tavern for a counter meal. After a feed and a beer it was time to say goodbye to Richard who is heading home to Port Kennedy.

We however have one last orchid patch to visit before we head home. Pallarup Nature Reserve is one of our favourite spots. Just like Helms Arboretum it rarely disappoints. Turning off the Newdegate-Ravensthorpe Road into Pallarup Rocks, Debbie immediately spots a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which we haven’t seen since day 4 of this Road Trip. Close by a double-headed Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) was found.

Since I am out of the Triton I decide to walk the rest of the way to the parking area whilst Deb slowly drives in. I am busy taking a photo of a Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) when Deb heads off into the bush, south of the track. She has seen many orchids in an area we have never checked out before. She is not wrong. Only a short way in I find a trio of Cream spider orchids (Caladenia horistes) which flowers August to early October in a range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia. The spreading petals and lateral sepals and relatively large labellum are tell-tale signs, even though the sepals are light cream in colour.

However what Deb had found was many Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea). I stumble across a light pink version and a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea), the first in a while as well.

Then some other spider orchids comes into view. These are much more yellow in colour and confirm this as a location of Cream spider orchids.

Finally get to where Debbie has discovered her bright pink candy orchids. They are beautiful.

Very close by were some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis). So many different colours found so far – Green, white, cream, pink, blue and brown.

As we are searching new ground we decide to take the track up to the water tank and come back to the parking area via the rock. We normally make a bee-line for the rock from the parking area via the information gazebo.

Making our way to the tank track we stumble across a great little patch of Western wispy spider orchids (Caladenia microchila) which are distinguished by their stiffly held petals and sepals. The petals backswept and elevated with the tails sometimes drooping.

First orchids found on the track to the tank were some donkey orchids. Location leads me to name these Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) however they could be Green Range donkey orchids as we are less than 100kms or so from the coast.

Another spider orchid comes into view. This double-headed beauty appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) due to the long fine glandular tail filaments and backswept, slightly elevated petals. These are the most widely spread of the wispy spider orchids being found between Kalbarri and Esperance. Also a long flowering period from July to mid-October.

The a completely different spider orchid is found, which I am unable to identify. It is a Caladenia hybrid, however the parentage alludes me. One parent must come from the Roei complex whilst the other is likely from the Filamentosa complex. Refer the post “Caladenia” for details of these complexes.

Then nearby I stumble across a Hypochromic colour form of a spider orchid. This colour form can also be referred to as Lutea. This is a genetic mutation which blocks the stronger colours like reds, blues and purples thus allowing the underlying pigments to show through. These are the whites, greens and paler yellows. Exact species not known. However the lack of colours provides a very unique looking orchid.

At the base of a tree we found another couple of Western wispy spider orchids, with one double-header and one that did not mature. The backdrop of the trees bark made for a great photo.

Western wispy spider orchids

One double-header 

Debbie then calls out as she has found a different spider orchid.  This one is not from the Wispy spider orchid complex. It is all by itself but appears to be a Stark-white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens) which is said to be of clumping habit. The location and size of the labellum and fringe segments allude to this classification. These beautiful orchids flower August to early October in an area from Moora to Esperance. Close by more specimens were found including a clump of 5 plants .

It’s now 3pm so we move further along the track towards the rock. Leaning over in plain sight is a large triple-headed  Jug orchid. Then we reach the rock and I quickly check in the mossy undergrowth to see what is there. I find more Pink candy orchids and Sugar orchids.

Also found were some small green orchids from the Roei complex. One was yet to open however, so I have to try to classify from the one in flower. It has small clubbed lateral sepals so must be a Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which are found from Ravensthorpe to Israelite Bay during the months of August and September.  It was not immediately recognised due to the lack of reddish colouring to sepals and labellum.

So now time to venture onto the rock itself. Hang on, check out that great clumping of spider orchids. Appears to be a group of Common spider orchids.

Finally moved on the rock proper and first orchids found were some small donkey orchids. From appearances it appears we have found two different species. The bright yellow ones with dark markings would be the Yellow granite donkey orchid whilst the pale yellow with brownish markings appear to be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa). The western wheatbelt donkeys are described as generally short habit with smallish pale yellow, brown marked flowers. They flower July thru September in an area bounded by York , Tenterden and Ravensthorpe.

On reaching the fence that borders the northern boundary of the rock we come across some more Bluebeards and then the one and only Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava)  is found. further down the rock we also discover another double-headed Sugar orchid.

Then finally in the scrub leading from the rock to the gazebo we find another orchid. This time it is the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) with its distinctive smooth green labellum with dark apex. One orchid was found intermingled with another Pink candy orchid.

We still have over 2hrs of driving to get home, so it is time to leave our Orchid hunting, but what a day it has been. 15 species found, plus 1 hybrid caladenia and 1 hypochromic caladenia. As previously mentioned, Pallarup Rock rarely disappoints and today was exceptional.

It was an epic effort by Debbie and Richard who drove the entire Holland Track from Broomehill Village to Coolgardie. Then to visit our favourite granite outcrop,Peak Charles plus a new granite outcrop of Cave Hill, just put the icing on the cake. 

I can’t wait to see where 2019 we take us looking for orchids, so BRING IT ON!!

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 5

Numerous days, Road Trip


Another beautiful morning, so what better way to start than to go orchid hunting. We all make tracks for Emu Rock as it was too dark yesterday to check it thoroughly. First find for me was a rare double-headed Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) whilst Deb was checking out the small Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) I had found yesterday. 

Close by I found another Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) whilst Deb found a Blue beard (Pheladenia defromis).  

Whilst taking Deb and Richard back to the Chameleon spider orchids I found yesterday other orchids were found. Mallee Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula), Hairy-stemmed snail orchids and  Sugar orchids.

Further shots taken of the Chameleon spiders then on the way back to the Tritons, I found another double header Sugar orchid. 

Time to continue our trek along the Holland Track. We make our way north back to the Hyden – Norseman Road where we start the official Holland Track to Coolgardie. What lies ahead is unknown !!!!!

The start of the track

Hyden – Norseman Road – Our Starting point of the Track proper

 Following the trip notes our first stop will be Sheoak Rock just off the track at the 12.53km mark. However after around 10kms we pull over as Deb has spied a Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii). Whilst I was taking photos she also finds a Sugar orchid  nearby.  

We move on to Sheoak rock which is a few hundred metres North of the track proper. It was wet and muddy however we park up an go for a wander. On the high point of the rock was a Trig Station (Triangulation/Trigonometrical) made of metal which is nice piece of history. Whilst getting some photos it started to rain so we made our way back to the Tritons for shelter. Making our way out of Sheoak Rock I cross through a patch of bush and come across some Sugar orchids. 

Back on the track we pass a Telecom Tower (reception still) at the 15.25km point and reach Native Rocks at the 15.69km point where we park up for lunch. Whilst Deb and Richard put the kettle on and rustle up some grub I go for a scout. First off is another Sugar orchid but then I stumble across a very tall Frog greenhood growing out in the open on granite.

After a quick bite to eat I check the other side of the track where I find spider orchids yet to open.. Oh bugger we may be too early !!!! 

However luck is on my side and I find some flowering.. Now the hard part getting a good photo then working out which species. From the looks they are possible Pendant spider orchids (Caladenia pendens subsp, pendens) due the size of the labellum and length of petals and sepals.

Leaving Native Rocks we follow the trip notes for another 6.33km to our next stop of Wattle Rocks. We did get more puddles to cross on the way.

Another muddy puddle to cross

Here we go again and again and again…….. So many bog holes

Parking up at Wattle Rocks Deb immediately spots some orchids. Some very small Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) are on the edge of the track, in danger of getting run over or trampled. these little beauties flower July to September in a large inland range from Nerren Nerren Station and Mt Ragged. 

Then a few metres away there was the biggest clumping of Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) I have ever seen.  They were an amazing sight.

Further afield we find what appears to be a Hybrid. Possible parents are Caladenia roei , Caladenia pachychila, Caladenia dimidia or Caladenia vulgata. An attractive small spider orchid.

Another new orchid found, this time it appears to be a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which must be getting very close to it’s eastern extremity. 

Other orchids found included Blue beard, Sugar orchid, Dwarf zebra orchid and the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) which is found between Kondinin and Madura during the months of July to early October. 

What a great spot little spot this is, but we must move on. Next stop is 1.86km further along, at a Mallee fowl nest which appears to be in current use.  

Mallee fowl nest

Large nesting mound

We had planned on getting to Mount Holland to camp but at our current travelling speed it will be dark before we get there, so we decide to look for a suitable camping spot along the way. We find a place just past a big slippery mud hole and set up camp. We light the obligatory camp fire and cook some dinner. 

Camp ground before the storm

Getting ready to cook dinner

Luckily we chose to camp earlier as a massive thunderstorm hits and we rename our camping ground “The mud camp”, as the track is now a much muddier, wetter and more slippery than it was. Tomorrow will be interesting going.

Was a successful orchid hunting day (12 species), but not so successful in travelling the distance we had planned. Achieved less than 30kms today as the Holland Track is proving more challenging than anticipated.

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 4

Numerous days, Road Trip


Waking up to a beautiful sunny morning, we eat breakfast around our campfire, pack up the campers then go exploring Dragon Rocks.

Dragon Rocks campsite

Beautiful sunny blue skies for breakfast

Close by the camp ground we stumble across some very small Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis). Solitary ones no clumps.

Next up we find a solitary donkey orchid which due to the location it must be a Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae).

Moving north away from the granite rock I spied a patch of pink. On closer inspection a great bunch of Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), which flower late June to September in locations between Kalbarri and Israelite Bay, were found. One of the orchids had little colour with pink calli and fringe segments to labellum and yellow tips to petals and sepals. Known as Lutea form.

Also found nearby were Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata) and some wispy spider orchids. The first orchid appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) due to its thin leaf and long fine glandular tail filaments. A wide ranging orchid from Eurardy to Israelite Bay, flowering during the months of August through October. 

However the next group of spiders is different, with shorter petals and sepals. They appear to be Chameleon spider orchids (Caladenia dimidia), which we also found yesterday. 

Back on the rock itself we come across some Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile), which flower July to October ranging from Shark Bay to Eyre. 

Also found more Sugar orchids and spider orchids

The spider orchids were again different to the ones previously found , however I think the reddish one to be another Chameleon spider orchid.

However the larger white spider orchid appears to be the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) due to its larger labellum and very pendulous petals and lateral sepals. This orchid flowers august to early October in a range from Wongan Hills down to Walpole and was named from specimens found NNE of Hyden. 

We jump back into our Tritons and make our way further along the Holland Track. At the intersection of Kulin-Holt Rock Road we stop at what was listed as a Commemorative Plaque. The large rock on a cement pad with a white chain around it was there but no plaque to be seen, which was a bit disappointing. 

Holland Track & Kulin-Holt Rock Rd intersection

Rock without it’s plaque ..

From here we head further north till we reach the Hyden – Lake King Road. If we crossed this road the Holland Track continues however we turn West for the drive into Hyden as per the trip notes. It seems the track must be impassable north of the Hyden – Lake King Road. We arrive in Hyden and make our way into the town centre where we park up and make our way to the famous bakery for lunch. 

After an awesome burger for lunch, we buy some supplies in the local store, fuel up and make our way as per the trip notes to Wave Rock. First point of call was the Visitors Centre to obtain an update on the track conditions to Coolgardie. No real updates as most travellers of the track proceed in the same direction as we are going, so no word of mouth updates from those travelling from Coolgardie. In the native growth between the buildings and the road we find some spider orchids which is promising. 

They are from the Wispy spider orchid complex however I’m not able to confidently name the species. Nearby are some more Pink candy orchids.

The next spider orchid found though appears to be a Common spider orchid as it’s petals and sepals are not as long and pendulous as the previously found Pendant spider orchid. Further specimens are found on the roadside as well which seem to be the Pendant spider orchid and Chameleon spider orchid. These wispy’s are very confusing.

Then finally a different orchid of the Caladenia genus is found. A lonely small Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) next to another nice Pendant spider orchid is found on the road verge so I jump out of the Triton to get some shots whilst Deb drives further along to get off the narrow busy road. 

We now make tracks for the major attraction of this area. WAVE ROCK. We park the car and I head up to buy the parking ticket, followed by Richard. Deb checks out the bush behind the toilet block and calls us over once we place our tickets on our dashboards.

Deb had found lots of Blue Beards and some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’). Some quick shots taken before heading off on the walk trail to the WAVE. 

On the left side of the track we find a large patch of Hairy-stemmed snail orchids and a possible Mallee Banded Greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) which has been recently named and is located around the Hyden-Lake King Road.

Closer to the WAVE we find some more Ant orchids and a solitary Glistening spider orchid (Caladenia incensa) which flowers late June to September in a range from Hyden to Nerren Nerren Station north of the Murchison River. I get stuck at these two orchids showing a bus load of Asian tourists the orchids and ensuring they take photo’s without stepping accidently on the orchids. Once they move on so do I. 

Finally reach the ROCK WAVE so take some usual tourist snaps then I go into the bush looking for more orchids. I find a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) and Sugar orchids. 

Nearly 3 pm so we decide to make tracks back to the Tritons. On the way we spy a great bunch of Blue beards so I naughtily climb over the rail to get a shot. At the ticket booth I find a panel showing the Glistening spider orchid, which confirms it is found locally.

Now we move on east some 50kms to the start of the Holland Track – proper. I note in our Hema Road & 4WD Track Atlas that south along the Holland Track is a camp ground known as Emu Rock in the Bushfire Rock Nature Reserve. So rather than head north and hope we find somewhere to camp we make tracks for Emu Rock. After passing through the Rabbit Proof Fence and a couple of large puddles we find this amazing grassed camping area between the large granite rock and a salt lake. 

After setting up camp and collecting some firewood I decide to go for a walk, in the late afternoon light, down to the salt lake for a quick look.  After walking along the edge of the salt lake I finally head into the bush surrounding and find many small Blue beards and Sugar orchids. 

Pushing through the scrub and fallen trees I finally make it to the track and immediately find some Chameleon spider orchids. 

Then on the granite rock I locate some very small snail orchids, which seem to be more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. Light is fading fast so make my way back to camp for another wonderful night sitting around a campfire. 

12 species found today in our trek from Dragon Rocks to Emu Rock. 

2018 Road Trip – Holland Track and Beyond – Day 3

Dragon Rocks NR, Holland Rocks NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Silver Wattle Hill NR


Foggy morning
Waiting for the campers to dry out

Woke up to thick fog, so this delayed our departure as we waited for the campers to dry out before we packed them away. Once on our way we followed the Trip Notes from the “Explore the Holland Track and Cave Hill Woodlines” Explorer Series: Western Australia No.1 3rd Edition  booklet and made our first stop at the side of the Katanning-Nyabing Road in Ewlyamartup. All 3 of us go exploring and we discover Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva), Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) and Dark Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) all of which have been previously found this season.

Further along the road we stop at an old church, St Peters Church in Badgebup which was built in 1922. Toilet break in Nyabing, before heading to a Holland Track landmark, referred to as Holland Dam just off Guelfi  Road.  

We found the government water tank and a track into the scrub which lead to a cleared area, which may have been the remains of the so called dam. We quickly walked around and found further Jug orchids, Cowslip orchids, Dark banded greenhoods and Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata).

Quick bite to eat before making tracks to the Holland Rocks Nature Reserve. Here we park up at the Water tank and search the south side of the road. First up I find more Dark banded greenhoods then excitedly the first wispy spider orchid is found. On the way over to see my orchid Deb also stumbles across some spider orchids.  I believe these to be Chameleon spider orchids (Caladenia dimidia) which range from Paynes Find to Scaddan and flower August to October. The upswept to horizontal petals, incurved dorsal sepal and dark tail filaments lead me to this classification. 

Very close by we also find Sugar orchids, then further afield Deb finds lots of them and Donkey orchids. From our location the donkey orchids must be Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) which is a common inland orchid flowering August to September in a range from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums

On the way back to the Triton we find other specimens of the Chameleon spider orchid. There is even a solitary pink-red variation.

 We keep following the Trip notes and make our way NE to Silver Wattle Hill Nature Reserve. We jump out and find the track leading to what we hoped was a spot where the original Holland Track had carved wheel ruts into the granite. No luck in finding the wheel ruts however we were lucky enough to find some orchids. On the walk we found Sugar orchids, Wispy spider orchids (unknown species) and a Cowslip orchid and Jug orchid.

So a bit disheartened that we did not find the old wheel ruts we also check south of the spot we had parked up. Lucky we did as I found a Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) on the edge of the granite rock, a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which flower August to early October in a range from Northampton to Jerramungup, growing in the Resurrection Plant. Deb found another Wispy spider orchid also growing in a Resurrection Plant. Unable to confidently name the species though. 

Leaving Silver Wattle Hill N.R. we again follow the Trip notes and make our way through Lake Biddy (abandoned townsite)  into Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve from the south. We actually have to drive through a farmers property which felt a bit intrusive, but we then passed through a gate into the Nature Reserve. Less than 3km into the reserve we find the rock and set about setting up camp, lighting a fire, cooking dinner, having a few drinks, talking some BS and then hitting the sack. It has been a great day following the Trip Notes and finding at least 9 different orchid species, with a couple of unknown Wispy spiders thrown in.  

Camp fire
Clearing skies

15hr Sunday Drive

Detours, Road Trip


Saying our goodbyes to Kirstie and Hamish we set off for a leisurely trip home to Esperance. Usually a 7 to 8 hr drive over 725km, we however take 15hrs, as we make numerous stops to hunt for orchids.  Our first destination is Mount Dale in the Helena National Park. The wind is very chilly, however we brave this on our search for some orchid colour. We are not disappointed. First colour spotted is “yellow”. A Donkey orchid is found, but which one?? I’m making the call for the Winter donkey orchid (Diuris brumalis) which flower late June to August in a range from Jurien Bay to Collie. They prefer lateritic or granitic soils and up here in the hills that is the soil types encountered. Other specimens were found throughout our search of this area. 

Close to our first donkey the next colour found is “pink”. Little pink fairy orchid  (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found growing in the shelter of a granite boulder. These little beauties flower July to early October in a range from Northampton to Esperance. Singles, pairs and groupings are found in our extended search.  

Little pink fairy orchid

Often clumping habit

Deb then finds the colour “green”. A small patch of snail orchids hidden in a bush so only one visible for a  photo. Could not see the rosette however based on location, pointed hood with brownish tones and medium sized lateral sepals, I  will be naming it as Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf”). These flower late June to September in a large range from Perth down to Albany. Another patch yet to fully flower was found and the rosettes appear to confirm my classification. 

Another species of “mixed” colour is found by Deb. Once again hidden or protected near a granite boulder. It appears to be an Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium) which has been fertilised.

Next is a similarly “mixed” coloured orchid, which I found after pushing into the scrub for a few metres. Firstly I found a large patch of leaves and then with a slower look some orchids flowering were discovered. The genus of Cyrtostylis is known, but which species is it? By the smaller , duller flowers they must be the Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelli) which is found from Kalbarri to east of Esperance during July and September. 

Well Mount Dale proved a good hunting ground with 5 species flowering, plus Jug and Bird orchids yet to flower found. Already 2.5 hrs (65kms) into our drive home, so we better move on, or we will break our 12 hr record for the drive home. Next stop planned is Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) however we detour into Westdale Road (Mud Map SE5) to see if we can find some of the species listed in the guide. First off we find the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which flowers August to October in a range from Geraldton and Israelite Bay.

Deb is off exploring further whilst I slowly finish taking phone and camera pics of the Jug orchid. Only 2 mtrs away I find the Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) and call Deb back to see. On the way back she also finds other specimens less than a metre off her original walk track. They are so hard to see until you find them , then they stick out more easily as we continue searching.

Disbursed around the area are Common donkey orchids (Diuris corymbosa) which flower August to October in a range from Gingin to Bunbury and inland to near Brookton, our actual location funnily enough.

Another new find for the season is the Blue beard (Phelandenia deformis) which flower late May to October in a range from Murchison River to Israelite Bay. Only 3 small flowers found but still it is a new one for this season. 

It is now 4 hrs since we left and we have only covered 90kms of the distance home. Better get a move on. 20kms later we arrive at Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) where we had planned to explore for at least an hour as Deb had quickly checked this out on Tuesday when she drove to Perth, when she found at least 4 species flowering. First up we locate some more Common donkey orchids before Deb calls me over to a patch of at least 3 species in close proximity.

First up are Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’).

 Then as previously found in this location, there are Shell orchids everywhere. Many are finished as they flower from May to August. Mud Map records both Red and Brown veined shell orchids here in July so we have missed the peak flowering period it seems. From the flowering plants I believe them to be Red-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis hamiltonii) as they are darker coloured and most have the labellum protruding from the hood formed by the dorsal sepal and petals. These flower in a range from Toodyay to the Stirling Range in woodlands and Rock Sheoak thickets. 

Also located close-by are some Little pink fairy orchids. So 4 species all within a 3 square metres area. Great find Deb. 

Other species found during our search were Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Jug orchid. Also found was a meeting of Banded greenhood and Shells plus a Banded greenhood with a huge inflorescence. 

It’s now after 1.15pm and we have only travelled 110km of the 725km trip. Back to the Triton and a huge patch of spent shells is found plus the very first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) for the season. These flower from north of Geraldton to Israelite Bay during July to December. 

Onwards to Brookton where we grabbed a Parmi Wrap for lunch. (Parma for Farmer – raising funds for drought relief in NSW/QLD). Eating whilst driving to catch up some time our next planned stop is the Corrigin Wildflower Trail which goes around the airport  and is part of the Corrigin Nature Reserve. Taking the road in from the Dog Cemetery our first find are some more Little pink fairies  

Little pink fairy

Nothing else found so onwards we go at a slow pace, then I jump out to walk and find some Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which flower between July and October in a range from Northampton to Grasspatch.  They are very small and growing underneath bushes, making photo taking a lay down on the job task. Further Frog greenhoods are found along the trail.

Further along the track whilst walking I spy some nice snail orchids. They are the Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata). Another grouping was found further along by Deb whilst driving slowly along. 

A sole Jug orchid was also found just yawning like a Pelican  and further along what appears to be Pterostylis arbuscular which is a Mallee form of banded greenhood. No common name yet.

Finally a donkey orchid was found. Based on location alone this must be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which flowers July to September between York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe. Corrigin is slightly east of the line York to Ravensthorpe. 

Nearly 4pm, or 8hrs into our trip home and we have only completed 220km of the 725km required. Best move on to our next planned stop, Macrocarpa Trail near Kulin. Just before 5pm Deb finds our first orchid of this trail. Appears to be Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. 

Also found further Frog greenhoods, Robust snail orchids, Dark banded greenhoods and another possible Pterostlyis arbuscular.

Then as the light is fading fast we venture into the bush and finally there they are.. Spider orchids in flower. We now rush to get as many photos as possible .. They are so small and with the fading light our photos are not the best but we need to record the find. From the location and size I believe we found the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) and the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which both flower during August. The former July to October and the latter August to early October. The Common spider orchid ranges from Kalbarri to Esperance whilst the Pendant spider orchid ranges from Wongan Hills and Walpole. The Length of the petals and lateral sepals are a distinguishing feature. 

The sun finally sets on our orchid hunting so we make tracks via Lake Grace for Steak Burger / Fish n chips dinner. Then after 15hrs we arrive home at 11pm. Long day however very happy at finding 20 species of orchid.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

Western Australian Orchids


After a quick breakfast and a long hot shower we make up the thermos and head off to fuel up, then make tracks for the North Wagin Nature Reserve, our first planned stop of the day. Just off the road, on the track chosen to push into the reserve, I spy a group of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which we will check out on the way back. We park the Triton and camper near a dam and head out on foot to check out this new location. First find is the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), quickly followed by Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’).

Many donkey orchids were found and mixed in with these we found some Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) distinguished by their leaf having a red coloured underside. Another common orchid found here was the Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which competed with the donkey orchid to be the most common orchid in this location. As planned we took pictures of the Jug orchids as we made tracks for our next location.

Piesseville was our next location and we finally found flowering orchids, after other visits turned up leaves and buds only. As with the Wagin location the Fringed mantis orchid was very common, as were the Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), however the later were restricted to a few metres in from the road. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) was also plentiful, but further into the bush.

The first spider orchid found is a Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and nearby a reddish version of the same flower.A very different spider orchid is then found. The Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea). Unlike previous specimens found this season near Esperance,this one finally looks like the ones in the books.

In the northerly section of the location we find some Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and in the swampy section I find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) of varying shades. I track down Deb who has crossed to the other side of the road and took her back to where the Blue beards were located.

On the way back to the Blue beards more spider orchids were found. Chameleon spider orchid, Crimson spider orchid (Caladenia footeana)  which flowers July to early October between Cranbrook and Binnu and Chapmans spider orchid (Caladenia chapmanii) which flowers September to mid-October between Boyup Brook, Kojonup and Northam, all within a few metres of each other.

Then an OMG moment, when Deb spies an all red spider orchid. Appears to be Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) NEW FIND!!!! These are found between Tenterden and Wongan Hills and flower August to early October. Not 100% certain as it was not clumping, but single flowers. Edit: After locating Blood spider orchids at Forsyth Woodland this one appears to be a red variant of another species.

Other orchids found at this location were Jug orchids and Banded greenhoods.

We moved on and called into Narrogin to buy some supplies and an extra gas cartridge for the shower unit. We then drove north-east and stopped off at North Yilliminning Nature Reserve for lunch and checked out this new location. Not far into our search and we were bombarded with yellow from so many Cowslip orchids. Various shapes, patterns and sizes with some having very long lateral sepals.

Next orchid found was the small Sugar orchid followed closely with some Donkey orchids. Most likely, Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Also found were some Banded greenhoods

A very unusual colour catches Deb’s eye as she has found a Hybrid orchid. A Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) which is a hybrid formed by a Cowslip and Pink fairy cross pollinating. Further colour variations were found. However to muddy the waters, the Little pink fairy orchid is found which may be a parent of the hybrids, in which case the orchid is unnamed and referred to as (Caladenia flava x C. reptans). For now I will leave the judgement open.