Road Trip – Day 16 – Arrino to Petrudor

16/9/2017

From our camp in Arrino we back track west then south to Hydraulic Road where we make our first stop of the day. Nothing found so we drive further east to a creek crossing then stop for another look. Wow there are so many Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) and then on the other side of the creek Deb finds some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). 

This was also the area we were directed to find some spider orchids. Spent Pterostylis found first then some spider orchids well passed their best.

So back to Three Springs to fuel up and onwards through Carnamah to Bunjil. Turning south we travel through Latham and make a orchid hunting stop at Buntine Rock. We park the Triton and make our way to the rock by foot. Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are the first to be found , quickly followed by many small Donkey orchids. They appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) as they are very pale in colour and small in size.

Other donkey orchids found that I am unable to name. They did not fit the description given to the two species that are recorded from around these parts.

Confusing aspects such as : More colourful;  lateral sepals that hang rather than being reflexed; reflexed or upright petals; upright dorsal sepal. Pictures posted as evidence of these variations.

Our next orchid hunting stop was at Miamoon Reserve, which is southwest of Wubin. We walked around this flat granite outcrop which still had some wet areas which allowed us to find a new species for this trip. First up though were more donkey orchids which now appear to be Dainty donkey orchids (Diuris refracta), which flower late July to early September between Bindoon and Northampton. Also found were more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

The new species found is Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from late August to early November in an area from North of Perth to Esperance. We must be in the northern margins of its territory.

Final orchids found for the day were some spent Little laughing leek orchids and more Lemon-scented sun orchids.

We then made tracks heading south through Dalwallinu and turning east at Pithara. Finally we turn south down Petrudor Rd and make camp at Petrudor Rock. Before the sun sets we go for a walk around the rock but find no orchids.

6 species flowering with 3 other s past their prime. Not too bad a day.

Road Trip – Day 15 – Canna to Arrino

15/9/2017

After breakfast I take a little walk around our campsite in Canna and finally find some orchids. It has been many days since we left Charles Darwin Reserve where the last orchids found were located. Pale donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘mid-north’) appears to be the orchid found, with only a few scattered individuals encountered. These orchids flower late August to late September and are found between Moora and Mingenew. Canna being only 60kms NW of Mingenew.

We say our goodbyes to Richard at the Canna Hall, then before heading off, we decide to take the Wildflower walk to Canna Church Rock. First up were more donkey orchids but then we find some Dainty blue orchids (Cyanicula amplexans). At the rock picnic area we come across some Lemon scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and some Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), plus more donkey orchids.

After the walk we had awesome showers for a donation, then made our way south to Bilya Rock. No real parking area, so we pull alongside the track as best we could with camper trailer in tow. Onto the rock and the only colour immediately visible is Yellow. Lemon-scented sun orchids, Pale donkey orchids and Cowslip orchids were found. Some of the donkey orchids could be Dainty donkey orchids due to the reflexed petals however it is very difficult to tell.

We checked out War Rock which was surrounded by paddocks, so was overrun with weeds. Time to make tracks for Three Springs as we had to get to the bank. We also took the time to have another counter lunch, this time at the Commercial Hotel. We asked for orchid locations at the Tourist bureau and was given a map with places marked for possible sightings, however the lady informed us it has not been a great year and things flowered earlier than usual this season. We made our way around Dookanooka Nature Reserve and was lucky enough to find some Cowslip orchids early on, then much later some Purple enamel orchids (Elythanthera brunonis). First for this season as they flower August to early November on a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Nothing else found so we make tracks to Arrino for our next overnight camp.               Only 5 known species found today, which was a slow start to our orchid hunting as we move south away from the dry north.

Road Trip Day 7 – Camel Soak

7/9/2017

As Charles Darwin Reserve is proving to be very light on orchids this year we have decided to take a day trip to Camel Soak which is to the west. Last year it was a place we found many different species so fingers crossed for this year.

At Lake Monger lookout, on Rabbit-proof Fence Road, just off Wanarra East Road the first orchid found was the  Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans). However in the breakaway we also found many sun orchids yet to open fully.

Travelling down Rabbit-proof Fence Rd we turn East and arrive at Camel Soak. This granite catchment, also known as The Rock Hole was sunk as a watering point for men and their camel teams working on the No 2 Rabbit Proof Fence from 1903 to 1905.

Now to search for some orchids! The Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) is found all around the granite outcrop which is wonderful to see.

I stumble across a new orchid for this far north. Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta)All alone but still a different species finally.

More Donkey orchids and Dainty blue orchids found

Another species found in good numbers. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava)

Richard then spies a Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) and further specimens are found.

Some unopened Yellow and Blue sun orchids were the only other species found.

Many more Dainty blue orchids and Yellow granite donkey orchids were found and photographed.

5 species identified today with 2 Thelymitra species found that had yet to flower for identification.

Road trip – Day 3 – Kwolyin to Marshall Rock

03/09/2017

After a great night catching up around the camp fire we wake to a beautiful spring morning. After breakfast we pack up camp then go for a wander around our campsite where we come across a few Ant orchids (Caladenia roei). Then we walk back towards Coarin Rock, which Richard and I climbed late afternoon yesterday, to show Deb the donkey orchids we found. However before this a fellow camper directs our attention to a lone spider orchid. NEW FIND – It appears to be a Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) as the petals and both lateral and dorsal sepals all droop and the labellum is smooth margined. This orchid flowers August to early December and range from Northampton to Jerramungup.

Past the ablutions on the track to the rock we find the patch with many Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’)and then backtrack to the Tritons for our drive to Kokerbin hill.

Kokerbin Hill / Kokerbin Rock is claimed to be the third largest monolith in Australia, so was a definite stop. We took a walk around the northern face to Devils Marbles and  found some Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), Ant orchids, Donkey orchids and a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp ‘inland’)

Time to head north so we make tracks to Kellerberrin and have lunch at the lookout. A quick check around located more Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and other donkey orchids I cannot identify plus some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera).

Time is slipping away so we head further north and pulled over to an area of woodland on the off chance of finding some orchids. The area was signposted Forsyth Woodland and it proved to be great off chance location. Deb, Richard and myself all head off in different directions to see who would find the first orchids. Deb won by finding some Blood spider orchids (Caladenia filifera). I am confident with their identification, this time. NEW FIND

Next up Deb comes across a small Mottled donkey orchid (Diuris suffusa) which flowers late August to late September in the shires of Trayning, Wyalkatchem, Koorda and Mount Marshall. NEW FIND  I find a lone Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta) and Deb finds a lone Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata).

Further Donkey orchids and Pink candy orchids groupings were found followed by a grouping of Ant orchids and a sole Sugar orchid.

Many more Fringed mantis orchids in better shape than the first were found as was a patch of very tall Hairy-stemmed snail orchids.

So Forsyth Woodland proved a very fruitful stop with 7 orchid species found. Sunset is looming and we have yet to settle on where to camp overnight. Our first choice, Durokoppin Nature Reserve was not suitable, so we headed north, passing through Trayning and made tracks for Marshall Rocks near Bencubbin. This was a great spot with only one other camper in residence, so we set camp for the night. I decide to quickly check the rock out for any orchids and only find some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, as the rock and surrounding area was very weedy.

A great 3rd day with 10 species found.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

02/9/2017

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.

Edit: 29/10/2017 – From further investigations it appears all Hybrids found were Spectacular spider orchids due to the longer lateral sepals. Blooms August to October and found from Kalbarri to Esperance

Final orchids found were a sole Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and some further Jug orchids.

Quick toilet stop in Wickepin, which was a very neat little town with a museum for Albert Facey, who is famous for his autobiography “A Fortunate Life”. We make one final stop, before catching up with Richard, at Malyalling Nature Reserve. Along the road that dissects the N.R. I spot some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which flower August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe, and when taking photos also noticed Fringed mantis orchids nearby.

Some Donkey orchids were also found and at the Eastern boundary of the N.R. we found a patch of  Fringed mantis orchids. Too many to count.

We made our way back to the low granite outcrop and Deb immediately finds some purple variants of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is quite rare according to my orchid book, so a great find Deb!! Also found on this rock were Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower from July to October between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay and very small donkey orchids.

After finding 18 orchid varieties it is now time to head off for Kwolyin campground, where Richard is waiting for us. … Trio travelling begins.

Kwolyin campground
Triton and camper . Richard with Red Triton and tent.

Caladenia – Spider orchids, dragon orchids, zebra orchids, candy orchids, fan orchids and fairy orchids.

A list of the orchids from the Caladenia Genus that I have been lucky enough to find.

Caladenia filamentosa complex (Wispy spider orchids) 

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 43 Western Australian species

  • A single, usually narrow, hairy leaf with in-curved margins.
  • Up to 3 flowers.
  • Most species have long wispy petals and lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with short, serrate or dentate fringe segments  and two rows of calli.

Caladenia chapmanii (Chapman’s spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia dimidia (Chameleon spider orchid) 11/08/2017

Caladenia filifera (Blood spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia footeana (Crimson spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia microchila (Western wispy spider orchid) 16/07/2017

Caladenia pendens (Pendant spider orchid) 01/09/2017

Caladenia vulgata (Common spider orchid) 16/07/2017

Caladenia xantha (Primrose spider orchid) 28/07/2015


Caladenia longicauda complex (White spider orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 14 Western Australian species

  • Long hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • Up to 4  (rarely 5) predominately white flowers.
  • Long wispy, spreading to pendulous petals and lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with long fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa (Esperance white spider orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula (rigid white spider orchid) 26/09/2015

Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora (Southern white spider orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia huegelii complex (King spider orchid)

Flowering – August to December

There are 22 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • 1 to 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Most have shorter petals than lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with short to long, often thickened fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia decora (Esperance king spider orchid) 30/07/2017

Caladenia heberleana (Heberle’s spider orchid)


Caladenia longiclavata complex (Clubbed spider orchids)

Flowering – August to November

There are 6 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • 1 to 3 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Most also have clubbed petals.
  • Labellum with narrow fringe segments with pointed ends and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia arrecta (Reaching spider orchid) 31/07/2015


Caladenia falcata complex (Green spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early December

There are 9 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or slightly in-curved margins.
  • Up to 3, rarely 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Some have up-swept lateral sepals.
  • Four or more rows of labellum lamina calli.
  • Most have long labellum fringe segments with pointed tips

Caladenia attigens (Small mantis orchid) 13/09/2014

Caladenia falcata (Fringed mantis orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia exstans (Pointing spider orchid)


Caladenia hoffmanii complex (Hoffman’s spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early February

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf which is flattened or has in-curved margins.
  • Up to 2 flowers.
  • Shortened petals and sepals.
  • Long, fine labellum fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia graminifolia (Grass-leafed spider orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia roei complex (Small spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early October

There are 7 Western Australian species

  • Hairy leaf that may be flattened or have in-curved margins.
  • Up to 2, rarely 3 flowers.
  • Shortened petals and sepals.
  • Large, rounded labellum with smooth margins and a dense central band of calli.

Caladenia brevisura (Short-sepaled spider orchid)

Caladenia roei (Clown orchid, ant orchid, man orchid, jack-in-the-box) 02/09/2017


Caladenai cairnsiana complex (Zebra orchids)

Flowering – July to early November

There are 2 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with slightly in-curved margins.
  • Petals and lateral sepals of similar length and both hang downwards.
  • Distinctly up-swept labellum with smooth margins, and glandular tip.
  • Dense central band of labellum lamina calli.

Caladenia cairnsiana (Zebra orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia pachychila (Dwarf zebra orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia barbarossa complex (Dragon orchids)

Flowering – August to mid November

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Relatively short, broad, green leaf. Often lies flat on the ground.
  • 1, rarely 2 flowers
  • Shortened petals and lateral sepals, down-swept to hanging.
  • Dorsal sepal often bend backwards.
  • Densely hairy labellum with a large gland at it’s highest point.

Caladenia barbarossa (Common dragon orchid)


Caladenia hirta complex (Candy orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early November

There is 1 Western Australian species, comprising 2 sub-species

  • Broad, flattened hairy leaf.
  • 1 to 3 (rarely to 6) white or pink flowers.
  • Short, spreading petals and sepals.
  • Narrow, upright labellum with short fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea (Pink candy orchid) 01/09/2017


Caladenia nana complex (Pink fans)

Flowering – Late September to November

There is 1 Western Australian species, comprising 2 sub-species.

  • Broad, hairy leaf.
  • Up to 3 (rarely to 5) usually pink flowers.
  • Petals and sepals form a fan-like arrangement.
  • Lateral sepals are united near the base.
  • Labellum with short fringe segments and calli confined near the base.


Caladenia latifolia complex (Fairy orchids, cowslip orchids)

Flowering – July to December

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Colony forming habit.
  • Relatively, broad hairy leaf.
  • 1 to 4 (rarely to 6) pink, yellow or white flowers.
  • Short, stiffly spreading petals and sepals, lacking clubs.
  • Tri-lobed labellum with a raised plate near the base.
  • Calli extend from either  side of the plate.

Caladenia flava subsp. flava (Cowslip orchid) 13/08/2017

Caladenia flava subsp. maculata (Kalbarri cowslip orchid)

Caladenia latifolia (Pink fairies) 26/08/2017

Caladenia marginata (White fairy orchid)

Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans (Little pink fairy, dwarf pink fairy) 13/08/2017

Caladenia reptans subsp. impensa (Pale pink fairy)


Caladenia – mixed

Caladenia creba (Arrowsmith spider orchid)

Caladenia discoidea (Dancing spider orchid) 30/07/2017

Caladenia multiclavia (Lazy spider orchid)

Caladenia radialis (Drooping spider orchid)

Caladenia wanosa (Kalbarri spider orchid)


Caladenia Hybrids

Caladenia x spectabilis (Spectacular spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia flava x C. reptans


 

Road Trip 2017 – Delay

31/8/2017

We had planned to leave tonight and camp up at Mt Madden, however as I drove the Triton home from work the ENGINE light remained on, then as the sun set we noticed the headlights were not working. Called Dave our mechanic, who came around and after 2hrs he had replaced our globes, ballasts and exchange. So now we have lights and the ENGINE light is no longer on. We slowly pack the Triton and camper trailer and then go to bed with plans to leave early in the morning.

1/9/2017

Woke up around 5am, showered, last minute packing and then off to Puma to fill up the Triton. Around 6am we are finally on our way. First stop is the Ravensthorpe lookout which was the very first place ever that we found Jug orchids. Guess what is the first orchid found is ? …. Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva), what a great coincidence. As towing our camper at slow speed up a gravel hill is proving a challenge, we drive to the top and slowly make our way down. 2nd orchid found is Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). A few scattered plants only, then a great group is found by Deb at the side of the road.

Nothing further found, other than more Jugs and Tiny Blues, so we make our way back to the track on level ground and closer to the Hwy we find some more Pterostylis orchids. We have now added another location for the Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). Also found were some good old Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata). Next stop is Ravensthorpe for a toilet break.

Lake King Nature Reserve on the Old Newdegate Rd is checked out with only Western tiny blue orchids found. Further along the road at the Dunn Rock Nature Reserve we find a spent Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) and a yet to flower Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans).

North of Newdegate we pull into a gravel pit for lunch, which is in the Rockview Nature Reserve. Here we find another Jug orchid. Our planned destination of Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve is reached just after 1pm and our first find is the little Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata). Further down the track our first glimpse of yellow delivers us our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). Eye catching as usual.

 

We venture deeper into the bush and another colour appears. Pink. The first of many Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found and nearby is the first spider orchid of the day. These pretty orchids are found from Kalbarrie to Israelite Bay and flower late June to September. Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) would appear to be the species found. Another yellow orchid is found. Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’) seems to be the one due to location.

 

 

Another spider orchid is found with much darker red tips to petals and sepals plus a darker red labellum as well. Location and these colourings lead me to name it Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens). Found from Wongan Hills to Walpole flowering August to early October. We make it to Dragon Rocks themselves and growing on the granite are some Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile). Other spider, donkey, candy and sugar orchids are found, but as it is nearly 3pm we make tracks back to Newdegate to travel westwards.

Quick stop made at South Buniche Nature Reserve where we find some Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) and more Jug and Sugar orchids. Then onto Lake Grace lookout, a favourite location of ours, that has yet again produced results. First up is the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia  dimidia). Also found nearby was another Common spider orchid.

Then a Sugar orchid is found under the scrub. Another spider orchid is found, this time a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) and a donkey orchid – possible a further Western wheatbelt donkey orchid. Jug orchids also found however as it is now getting dark and we plan to stay overnight in Wagin, we make tracks.

Overnight in Wagin at the local motel, very pricey for such a basic room, but as we ran out of daylight and with possible rain overnight, it seemed the easier option. Pizza enjoyed for dinner and time for sleep after a long first day. 16 orchids ticked off the list.