13/09/2020 ….. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show

Cocanarup Timber Reserve, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

After spending a wonderful weekend with good friends, Warren and Tammy in Hopetoun, we venture north to Ravensthorpe as they are having their annual Wildflower Show, which we have not been to in the 20 years we have lived in Esperance.

The display of wildflowers in the shire hall was amazing so we took a few pics of the orchids they had on display. We then sat down for a cuppa, with scones, jam and cream before making our way to the local lolly shop, Yummylicious Candy Shack for an icecream. No ginger this time though 😦 so I chose macadamia then also purchased a small bag of mixed lollies. It is here we say goodbye to our friends as they head home to Esperance, as we have orchids to find.

So where do we go first, given we are already 185km east of home. You guessed it, another 15kms east to Kukenarup Memorial. As the picnic shelter is already occupied we head straight for the walk trail and immediately find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) in bloom. These are by far the most widespread of the yellow sun orchids, as they occur on a line from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay and everywhere south of that line. The dark column lobes are a distinctive feature which also alludes to the Latin name: antennae, to bear .

Very close by another bright orchid of a different colour catches our eye. The Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) glistens in the bright sunshine.

Deb discovers a blue orchid and initially thought it would be a Blue beard however on closer inspection it was an orchid not found at this location before, which is exciting. It is a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which is quite widespread, ranging from Israelite Bay to Kalbarri.

I had just finished saying to Deb how it would be nice to find the Dragon orchids that were at the Wildflower Show, when what do we spy but a Common dragon orchid (Caladenia barbarossa) swaying in the breeze.

Right next door to the lone Dragon orchid we also find a lone Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens susp. gracillima) which is smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, which can also be found around Ravensthorpe. The labellum calli extend onto the red tip of the labellum, which is another distinguishing feature when comparing the two.

Making our way back to the walk track, as we have detoured a bit towards the Hwy, we come across another type of orchid. This little one appears to be the Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) due to the shortly clubbed later sepals and south-easterly location. The only other possibility is the Purple-veined spider orchid, which is pictured earlier at the wildflower Show, and the length of the sepals is definitely a distinctive feature of both types.

Towards the end of the walk trail we discover many more Lemon-scented sun orchids growing under the protection of bushes and also out on the granite growing in the Resurrection bushes.

Right at the end of the trail some Frog greenhoods (Pterostlyis sargentii) are found growing in the Resurrection bushes as well. These are a common inland greenhood growing between Northampton and Grasspatch.

We decide to go down south of the picnic shelter to see if we can locate the Red beaks we had found on previous years. Nothing at all found other than a small spent spider orchid on the edge of a track. We decide to walk along this track which heads west, toward the Phillips River. We are expanding this location as we have never ventured along this track before.

Interestingly, the first orchid found is the common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava sp. flava) which is unusual in that no others have been found today. One flower, 3 images.

Further along the track are some more Dragon and Purple enamel orchids.

Then on the south side of the track we stumble across some scattered Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) growing in the white sand. An unusual find, given the area does not appear to have been burnt recently.

Then hiding under a bush is the smallest Blue china orchid I had ever seen. Actually looking at the labellum it appears to be a Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) as it is also much paler than the typical Blue china orchid which was found earlier today.

After walking this track for about 30mins it seemed to go on forever, so we turned north to make our way back to the picnic area. Pushing up a rise we find many more Small mantis orchids as well as many Jug orchids (Petrostylis recurva), however most were finished for the season, though we took a photo just as a record.

We have now returned close to the Hwy so head west towards the picnic area. Not much found until Deb excitedly comes across a beautiful leek orchid. I believe it to be the Frilled leek orchid (Prasophyllum sargentii) which grows in sandy soils from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay during August to October.

We make it back to the picnic shelter and right there in the shade of the taller shrubs is a patch of Common dragon orchids. Photos taken but no decent ones so will not post any, however the short video seems decent enough to post.

Needing food we head off east past Ravensthorpe and onto Munglinup Roadhouse to get another burger, as they were awesome last time. Much busier today so the wait will be longer, so Deb suggests I go exploring nearby for any orchids.

Great idea my wonderful wife had. I ventured over the road to the east and immediately spied yellow flowers that looked promising. The bright and beautiful Cowslips are flowering as are the Lemon-scented sun orchids. Also a red coloured Small mantis orchid and the usual greener ones are found together with some Purple enamel orchids.

To top off this location I found three different species of white spider orchids. First up is the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), followed by an Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda susp. crassa) then finally a small orchid I cannot Identify. Any help with this is appreciated.

Back to the roadhouse I go and we enjoy eating the awesome burgers before we head off to our next location. We plan to visit the spot on Boydell Road where we had seen possible hammer orchid leaves on a previous visit. I am driving and we go past the spot and travel some 20 kms before realising. We turn around and locate our marker and pull into a farmers gate leeway as we are only in the Ford, so no 4WD capability to park off the road.

Whilst we start our search on the north of the road the farmer comes to check on what we are up to. They check our car, drive up and down the road a bit then obviously decide we are not a threat and leave us be. Unfortunately the leaves we planned to check out had not produced any flowers and were dying off, however we did locate some other orchids. First up was a beautiful pair of Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) which occur from Augusta to Cape Arid during September and October. The long clubbed sections of the sepals and having clubbed petals are distinguishing features. Other specimens are also found upon further searching.

Other orchids were found as well. Red beaks were found, which confirms rare individuals will flower without a need for a recent bushfire. Purple enamel orchids and Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) round off the day. A funky name however, it is derived from the Latin discoideus alluding to the rounded shape of the labellum.

It is now just after 5pm so we had better make tracks for home. As we are closer to the Cascade Road intersection than we first thought we decide to take it back down to the hwy as it is a sealed road.

A great day orchid hunting, to finish off a great weekend. Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show provided us with the nudge to explore the area and we were rewarded with at least 16 different orchid species.

2019 Road Trip – Caron Dam Reserve to Burakin

Latham NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Xantippe NR

03/09/2019

Destination unknown we head off south down the Mullewa Wubin road. Just past Latham we turn east and pull into the Latham Nature Reserve for a quick look. We both head into the reserve in different directions. After looking around and into the reserve a bit we conclude that the only orchids are the ones on the verges with the roads. On one verge we find some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which are located between Kalbarri and Balladonia during the months of June to September. Common inland snail orchid which is extremely variable in appearance.

Another species found on this verge is the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) which flowers August to October in locations from Eurardy Station to Ravensthorpe. They are the most widespread of the so called Small spider orchids.

On the other verge we found a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which occur inland from Kalbarri to Norseman during the months of August to early October.

We move further south to the Maya Nature Reserve however did not find any orchids in our quick check so moved onto the siding of Maya where we took the time to check on their historical display. The townsite was gazetted in 1913 and is now only a receival point for CBH. A world record was set in 2003 when 55 headers harvested a paddock at the same time.

From Maya we head south again, before venturing into Buntine Rock (Mud Map N 38), which as the name suggests is near the small town of Buntine. It is not however located in the nearby Nature Reserve. We have visited this spot previously so parked up and immediately headed onto the flat granite area. Some beautiful Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) were found in flower. These orchids flower from July to October in locations between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay.

More yellow orchids are found, however these are from a different genus. The Pale donkey orchid (Diuris pallescens) is found which flowers from late-august to late-September between Moora and Minganew. This location is a bit further east however recordings have been logged in Atlas of Living Australia, so I am happy with this identification. Other donkey orchids found though appear to be the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) as the flowers are much more colourful, petals are broad and rounded, plus the lateral lobes to the labellum are narrower. East of recorded location, Bindoon to Northampton and they flower late-July to early-September, so I may be in error, so please correct me if wrong.

Moving on we stumble across a nice trio of Ant orchids in the midst of the donkey orchids. The fourth orchid is still in bud.

Then an exciting find is made. Our first dragon orchid of the season is found growing underneath the shrubbery. The Narrow-lipped dragon orchid (Caladenia mesocera) flowers from August to early-October in inland locations from Pingrup to Paynes Find. This is the first time we have found this orchid species so very excited indeed.

Our attention is then drawn back to the donkey orchids which are everywhere.

Some of the donkey orchids are brighter yellow, so appear to possibly be another species. I will call these ones the Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) which flower during August and September on inland granite and breakaway habitat from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums.

Also discovered a patch of Kalbarri cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata). As they appear to be covered in blotches rather than regular patterns, I am confident in this classification. Maybe to ones found yesterday near Eneabba were also Kalbarri cowslips. If so please correct me an I will go back and edit that post. A little south of Perenjori which is listed as their southern boundary, however sightings in Atlas of Living Australia confirm Buntine Rock as a location. These orchids flower from July to early-September as far north as Shark Bay.

We climbed to the top of Buntine Rock for the 360 degree views then made our way back to the Triton and camper. On the way we find further Ant and Dainty Blue orchids.

Leaving Buntine Rock we head south to Dalwallinu, where we have a counter meal in the local pub, before shopping for some supplies. Now we head east on the Dalwallinu-Kalannie road, taking a detour into the Xantippe Nature Reserve and park up at the water tank. The water tank was constructed in the 1920’s to supply water to Dalwallinu however due to issues pumping the water over the surrounding hills , this was abandoned with water being used by the local farmers instead.

Xantippe tank

It is now around after 3pm, so we have a quick look around the granite near the tank. More Ant orchids and Lemon-scented sun orchids are found.

Then a little orchid is found and on closer inspection, further Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) are found. These little guys flower from July to October over a vast range from shark Bay to Eyre. They vary from the standard yellowy-green colouring to purplish.

Now time to move on and get to our newly chosen overnight stop. We are popping in on my cousin Mary-lou in Burakin, where she is now the sole resident. Pulling up we find a caravan already set -up so were unsure if we would be able to stay. However the caravan was another cousin, in fact Mary-lou’s eldest brother Ian and his wife. So it was a great reunion given I have no memory of every meeting Ian before this. It turns out he is the oldest male and I am the youngest male of the fraternal side of our families. Fancy that!!

10 species found today, so we hit the sack happy.

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

List of Orchids Found

Caladenia filamentosa complex (Wispy spider orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 43 Western Australian species

  1. A single, usually narrow, hairy leaf with in-curved margins.
  2. Up to 3 flowers.
  3. Most species have long wispy petals and lateral sepals.
  4. 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 erythronema (Red thread spider orchid) 20/09/2017

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

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

Caladenia horistes (Cream spider orchid) 07/09/2018

Caladenia incensa (Glistening spider orchid) 05/09/2019

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

Caladenia paradoxa ( Ironcaps spider orchid) 20/09/2017

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

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

Caladenia longicauda subsp. albella (Small-lipped white spider orchid) 02/09/2019

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

Caladenia longicauda subsp. borealis (Daddy long-legs white spider orchid) 02/09/2019

Caladenia longicauda subsp. calcigena (Coastal white spider orchid) 02/09/2019

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

Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens (Stark white spider orchid) 07/09/2018

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


Caladenia huegelii complex (King spider orchid)

Flowering – August to December

There are 22 Western Australian species

  1. Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  2. 1 to 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  3. Most have shorter petals than lateral sepals.
  4. 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) 22/09/2017


Caladenia longiclavata complex (Clubbed spider orchids)

Flowering – August to November

There are 6 Western Australian species

  1. Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  2. 1 to 3 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  3. Most also have clubbed petals.
  4. Labellum with narrow fringe segments with pointed ends and four or more rows of calli.

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

Caladenia longiclavata (Clubbed spider orchid) 19/08/2020

Caladenia magniclavata (Big clubbed spider orchid) 19/08/2020


Caladenia falcata complex (Green spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early December

There are 9 Western Australian species

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

Caladenia attigens subsp. gracillima (Small mantis orchid) 13/09/2014

Caladenia attigens subsp. ‘granite’ (Granite mantis orchid) 06/09/2018

Caladenia exstans (Pointing spider orchid) 23/09/2017

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


Caladenia hoffmanii complex (Hoffman’s spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early February

There are 4 Western Australian species

  1. Long, hairy leaf which is flattened or has in-curved margins.
  2. Up to 2 flowers.
  3. Shortened petals and sepals.
  4. 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

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

Caladenia brevisura (Short-sepaled spider orchid) 07/09/2018

Caladenia doutchiae (Purple-veined spider orchid) 19/09/2017

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

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

Caladenia cairnsiana (Zebra orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia pachychila (Dwarf zebra orchid) 28/08/2018


Caladenia barbarossa complex (Dragon orchids)

Flowering – August to mid November

There are 4 Western Australian species

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

Caladenia barbarossa (Common dragon orchid)

Caldaenia mesocera (Narrow-lipped dragon orchid) 03/09/2019


Caladenia hirta complex (Candy orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early November

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

  1. Broad, flattened hairy leaf.
  2. 1 to 3 (rarely to 6) white or pink flowers.
  3. Short, spreading petals and sepals.
  4. Narrow, upright labellum with short fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta (Candy orchid) 02/09/2019

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.

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

Caladenia nana subsp. nana (Little Pink Fan orchid) 08/09/2021



Caladenia latifolia complex (Fairy orchids, cowslip orchids)

Flowering – July to December

There are 4 Western Australian species

  1. Colony forming habit.
  2. Relatively, broad hairy leaf.
  3. 1 to 4 (rarely to 6) pink, yellow or white flowers.
  4. Short, stiffly spreading petals and sepals, lacking clubs.
  5. Tri-lobed labellum with a raised plate near the base.
  6. Calli extend from either side of the plate.

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

Caladenia flava subsp. maculata (Kalbarri cowslip orchid) 03/09/2019

Caladenia latifolia (Pink fairies) 26/08/2017

Caladenia marginata (White fairy orchid)

Caladenia reptans subsp. impensa (Pale pink fairy)

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


Caladenia – mixed

Caladenia creba (Arrowsmith spider orchid)

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

Caladenia macrostylis (Leaping spider orchid) 07/09/2021

Caladenia multiclavia (Lazy spider orchid) 12/09/2021

Caladenia plicata (Crab-lipped spider orchid) 08/09/2021

Caladenia radialis (Drooping spider orchid) 19/09/2017

Caladenia sigmoidea (Sigmoid spider orchid) 30/08/2018

Caladenia wanosa (Kalbarri spider orchid)


Caladenia Hybrids

Caladenia x coactescens (Northern sandplain spider orchid) 03/09/2019 – Lake Indoon

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

Caladenia brevisura x C. vulgata 07/09/2018 – Pallarup Rock

Caladenia flava x C. nana 23/09/2017 – Boyatup

Caladenia flava x C. reptans

Caladenia radialis x C. roei 04/09/2019 – Datjoin Well/Rock

Unknown 28/08/2018 – Wattle Rocks, Holland Track