02/09/2021 ….. Koorda to Northam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29/08/2020 ….. Gnowangerup to Hamersley Inlet (Road Trip 2020)

Chirelillup NR, Fitzgerald River NP, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

A much earlier start to the day as we did not need to wait for the camper to dry out. We arrive at our first location by 8.30am and explore widely this time, as we have had quick visits on other occasions.

Chirelillup Nature Reserve

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

??? greenhood

(Pterostylis sp.)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Slender spider orchid

(Caladenia pulchra)

Well after our extensive search of the reserve we decide it is time to move on. We don’t get far before we pull over at a patch of scrub, due to seeing a large colony of donkey orchids whilst driving past.

Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Rd

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Stark white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. eminens)

Wheatbelt spider orchid

(Caladenia x cala)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Short-sepaled spider orchid

(Caladenia brevisura)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Purple-veined spider orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

??? Hybrid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid or Small flowered donkey orchid.

(Diuris brachyscapa or D. porrifolia)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Wowsers! what an awesome random roadside stop that was. Hybrids plus numerous species found. We do though have to move on, so onwards to Ongerup we go.

Ongerup

Cowslip orchids

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

Time for lunch so we head for the nearby Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre, where we have enjoyed a nice meal on previous visits. This visit was no exception. With a full belly we move on towards the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Calyerup Rocks

Western tiny blue orchid

(Cyanicula aperta)

Sugar orchids

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Whoops, we somehow drove into the Park Rangers residence, and were chastised for this. Oh well we know better next time. As we plan to camp at Hamersley Inlet we move further along the South Coast Hwy until we reach West River Road. Due to failing light we stop only at the lookout, before pulling into our overnight campground. After setting up we go for a quick walk and of course look out for any orchids that catch our eye. The inlet is very dry compared to when we last visited a few years back.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Sunset over the inlet

After enjoying the beautiful sunset over the inlet we head back to the camper to rustle up some dinner. We then enjoyed a game of Tri-ominos before hitting the sack. Random stops today proved very successful with many orchids found, so we don’t always have to plan everything upfront.

14/08/2020 ….. Weira Reserve to Danberrin Hill (Road Trip 2020)

Billyacatting Hill NR, Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Weira Reserve, Western Australian Orchids

Another leisurely morning, where we have breakfast and pack up the campers, before heading off exploring the reserve, with Deb this time. We check out the breakaway as we did yesterday, then make our way back to the campsite for the walk trail to the gnamma hole.

Weira Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Caladenia dimidia X Caladenia incensum

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)

Chameleon spider orchid

(Caladenia dimidia)

Green-veined shell orchid

(Pterostylis scabra)

We arrived at the gnamma hole , however it was a weed infested area so we quickly trekked back to the campers to move on. No photos taken. The next stop on the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail was Site 19, a place called Wattoning Historical Site. Here we first took time to have lunch before finding a place to check for orchids. Nothing discovered so we move on.

We then backtracked, stopping to take photos of Cleomine, a wind driven tribute to a local racehorse, then an old grain silo relocated to Mukinbudin, before arriving at Site 20 – Mangowine Homestead. This historical location was once an inn where travellers to the goldfields rested up. It was an interesting stop but alas still no orchids.

We then decided to visit site 21, Billyacatting Hill, before reaching Nungarin, as we plan to camp south of the town. We did not wish to backtrack North tomorrow.

Billyacatting Nature Reserve

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Man orchid, Jack-in-the-Box

(Caladenia roei)

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Jug orchid, Recurved shell orchid, Antelope orchid, Bull orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Mallee banded greenhood

(Pterostylis arbuscula)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Green-veined shell orchid

(Pterostylis scabra)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Rufous greenhood complex orchid

(Pterostylis sp.)

Leaving Billyacatting Rock we backtrack to the Nungarin North Road and head south. Bypassing Nungarin, we find our planned location, Danberrin Hill. The campground was already occupied by a group of people, however as it was getting late we decided to pull up and setcamp. Over the next hour or so more people turn up and we are completely surrounded by a church group who set up a big campfire. We are serenaded with gospel singing, however we provide late night entertainment for them as well. An interesting night to finish off a great day exploring. 12 species located, plus 1 possible hybrid and an emerging rufous type greenhood.

12/08/2020 ….. Billiburning Rock to Elachbutting Rock (Road Trip 2020)

Billiburning Reserve, Datjoin Well and Rock, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

We wake to a wintery morning with grey clouds and the threat of rain. We quickly have breakfast then start to pack up camp. Unfortunately the rain arrives and we rush to pack up in the pouring rain. Not ideal but we will set up again tonight so it will dry out then.

We head back south to Beacon, then head east to the next stop. Site 12 of the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail is Datjoin Rock and Well Reserve.

Datjoin (Dahjoing) Well

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Drooping spider orchid

(Caladenia radialis)

Chameleon spider orchid

(Caladenia dimidia)

(Caladenia radialis x incensum)

Dark-tipped spider orchid

(Caladenia x exoleta)

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, man orchid, Jack-in-the-box

(Caladenia roei)

Yellow granite donkey orchid

(Diuris hazeliae)

Leaving after a good 2 hours of searching we head to the next site along the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. Site 13 is the Bonnie Rock townsite. Behind the hall is a wonderful new toilet and shower facility. We decide to have a nice hot shower and prepare lunch. Refreshed we then move onto Site 14 Beringbooding Rock. We go for a walk onto the rock which was excellent , however no orchids were found. The largest rock water catchment tank in Australia is located here. Deb and I had camped here on a previous trip, however as it is only early we move on, with plans to camp at the next location.

We arrive at Site 15 Elachbutting Rock just after 2pm and visit the Wave Rock, Monty’s Pass and Kings Cave, before driving around to the south eastern side, where we find a place to camp. I go for a clamber over the nearby rock after camp is set. It is too steep to climb up far, so end up skirting along the base for a bit then making my way back to camp.

Elachbutting Rock

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Jack-in-the-box, Man orchid

Finished the day around another campfire, grateful that the wet weather did not follow us from our morning showers. Seven species and some hybrids found today so was an OK day.

2019 Road Trip – Flat Rock Nature Reserve to Ravensthorpe

Lake Varley NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Pallarup NR, Road Trip

07/09/2019

We wake up to a beautiful sunny spring morning. A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed as we know our destination today, so no need to rush. It’s after 9am before we finally leave Flat Rock Nature Reserve and head off in an easterly direction down the Kulin-Holt Rock Road. We reach Lake Varley and pull over on the side of the road and decide to check out the flat granite outcrop, which we later find is a part of the Lake Varley Nature Reserve.

Deb finds the first orchid growing under the scrub at the edge of the rock. The wonderful yellow donkey orchids are again flowering at the edge of the rock under the protection of the scrubs. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) is know to grow in the region with sightings recorded in Atlas of Living Australia. Kulin shire is also one of the Local Government Areas (LGA) listed in Florabase as being a location for this orchid. Links to these resources are found via the “+” sign at the bottom of every page.

Close by some wispy spider orchids are found. Due the creamy colouring of the flowers they appear to be the Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) which flowers from August to early-October over an easterly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia, however Kulin LGA is listed in Florabase as a location for this orchid.

Another yellow orchid pops up. The wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is such a cheerful orchid to find. Bright yellow flowers with such random markings; from spots, stripes, blotches to barely none at all. This little grouping has mainly spots. The view back to the Triton provides an indication of the habitat we are exploring.

Other orchids found were a solitary Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) . Both have vast inland ranges and flower during September.

Then a perfect specimen of the Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is found in all it’s glory. Another inland orchid but only found from Northampton to Jerramungup, so not as widespread as the Sugar or Hairy stemmed Snail orchids.

Well now the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) turns up to entertain us. They are said to resemble a crucifix due to the petals and lateral sepals.

Then came across more Sugar orchids and a grouping of Western wheatbelt donkey orchids before finally heading back to the Triton. Last small orchids found were the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which were camouflaged well in the moss on the granite rock.

Time to move onto our next place to explore. We detour a slight bit to check out Holt Rock. We drive into the day use area of Holt Rock but chose not to go for an exploration, though it looks like a great place to check out another time. Further south we arrive at Varley and go check out a place on the map named Dempster Rock. After a little searching we find a track into the approximate area. Looking out our windows we are rewarded with orchids.

Some old favourites were the first found. Sugar orchids and Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) . Both are common orchids but always a pleasure to find.

Then the spider orchids start jumping out of the woodlands. They have strong yellow tonings and therefore appear to be the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which flowers July to September in the range Paynes Find to Norseman. My references refer to them being yellow, cream or pink-red in colour with either a small pale yellow or pale white red striped labellum. Whiter specimens are found close by.

Identifying the spider orchids is difficult given many overlap in locations and they have similar features. The Western wispy spider orchid and the Ironcaps spider orchid both also have smaller labellums than others plus the Ironcaps spider orchid also varies in colour from creamy-white to pale yellow. All three orchids are shown as being located in the Varley area in the Atlas of Living Australia.

Now we do find other orchids as well, so I will mention these ones now before adding more varied spider orchid photos. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis), Little laughing leek orchids, sugar orchids and Western wheatbelt donkey orchids are found.

The most amazing find though was a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). The reason for my amazement – is it’s height of 190mm. The tallest I have ever seen. These orchids are found in all the states of Australia which is quite amazing.

Now back to these other spider orchids. Firstly we found more Drooping spider orchids or are they? Possible hybrid with the c. dimidia as the labellum is very pale in colour with smooth margins. So I will leave the actual identification for now.

Then other spider orchids found. Some in clumps and some in isolation but all beautiful as ever. Some white, whilst others had reddish tones. Any help in naming these would be appreciated.

Getting peckish, so we finally leave this great new location and head back to Varley then down to Lake King for a meal at the tavern. After a great counter lunch and beer, we cruise further south to one of our favourite patches, Pallarup Rock. Located in the Pallarup Nature Reserve this location proves a fruitful orchid patch on most visits. Today is no exception. Within minutes we locate the first of many orchids. The Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found in many colour variations. This first one is very pale but others are bright pink.

Next up we find some donkey orchids. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid has been recorded in the Lake Grace shire whilst the other possible orchid, the Green Range donkey orchid is recorded in the Ravensthorpe shire which is nearer the coast. The basal leaves observed are not that wide which is causing me some angst in trying to ID them, so I will just posts the pics.

We now move onto the track to the water tank and at the junction find some more Sugar orchids. Then on the side of this track the first orchids found are Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which was named in honour of Oswald Sargent in 1905. He was an early West Australian orchidologist and pharmacist from York, where the specimen used to name it was collected in 1904.

Moving along the track the first of the spider orchids appear. The first one is an excellent example of the wispy complex. As there is one lonely specimen I will not attempt to name it, as there are too many variables with these wispy spider orchids. It could be one of three known to this location or a hybrid between two of them.

Close by is another spider orchid, but from the White spider orchid compex this time. As the sepals and petals are not that pendulous I believe this to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) which is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite bay from August to October. Florabase records Lake Grace and Dundas LGA’s as also being the location of this orchid, so 50kms north of Ravensthorpe in the Lake Grace shire seems appropriate.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as an unnamed subspecies of Caladenia longicauda. I will provide my own common name as Pallarup Rock white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. ‘Pallarup Rocks’). Exciting to find a new subspecies.

A small blue orchid catches Deb’s eagle eye. A lone china orchid is found. This pretty blue orchid has not been found in this location on any of our numerous prior visits, so this is an exciting find. Due to the darker blue colouring, scattered calli on labellum and the location this orchid must be the Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which has the largest range of all china orchids in WA, being from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is August to early-November. The one feature that did cause me confusion with the ID was the colour of the labellum, as the mostly blue labellum conflicted with the pictures in my references, which show the labellum as being mostly white or blue striped.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as the Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) which is restricted to a range between Fitzgerald River National Park and Israelite Bay. My location is 50kms north of this coastline. Flowering period is September to early-November.

Further white spider orchids were found and their features confirm my identification as Rigid white spider orchids. Also another wispy spider orchid is found and this one appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) which as the name suggests is found over a large area, from Kalbarri to Esperance, flowering during the period July to mid-October.

Next up we come across some Ant orchids. They are also known as Clown orchid, Man orchid and Jack-in-the Box.

More yellow patches are seen growing in the Pincushion plant (Borya constricta) and Sundew (Drosera). The Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are another widespread orchid which flower from July to October. The latin name antennifer (antennae) refers to the little lobes on the column.

Many more spider orchids are found together with patches of Cowslips and Blue beards popping up here and there. A wonderful kaleidoscope of colours.

A relative of the Ant orchid is also found in the scrub around the rock. The Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) is a common orchid found between Ravensthorpe to Israelite Bay. We have previously found these orchids east of Esperance at Condingup so we have now found them at both edges of their range.

Other orchids found in our exploration of Pallarup Rock are the Jug orchid, Little laughing leek orchid and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (or is it?) .

4.30 in the afternoon so time to move on to Ravensthorpe for our overnight stay. We spend our last night of our road trip as we did on our first night. Staying with our son, Timothy in his little duplex unit in Ravensthorpe.

Went to bed happy to have discovered at least 19 species today, which is amazing. Also a tinge of sadness as tomorrow is our final day.

2019 Road Trip – Narembeen to Flat Rock Nature Reserve

Numerous days, Road Trip

06/09/2019

Whilst having breakfast we are walking around in the sunshine when I spy what appears to be a black poly pipe coming from the leach drain of the Septic Tank at the back of the toilets. However it then moved and scared the beejesus out of me. I called out to Deb who arrived in time to see it wriggle backwards back into its hole. Whoa we steer clear of that area as we pack up. We drove around the back of the toilets as we left and it was back out, sunning itself. It lifted it’s head to watch us move by.

So we now make our way further east to a place called Roe Dam. The dam was initially planned in 1929 but put off as too costly and was finally built in 1970/71, to provide the Mt Walker farming community with water. The catchment area is 140 acres (56ha) of granite rock and the dam holds 20 million gallons (91 million litres). We pull into the old picnic area as the dam area appears to be out of bounds. This old area has working toilets and shade to park up so all good. First stop for the day so off we go exploring.

First orchids found are the Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which as the name suggests are easily identified by their hairy stem. Other than this they are extremely variable in appearance ranging from 50 to 250mm in height, lateral sepals are from 10 to 35mm in length and stem leaves can be 8 to 20mm in length.

Moving towards the granite outcrop we also find a small donkey orchid. This one is much duller than the ones found on previous days. From this it would appear to be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which flowers from July to September in locations east of the Albany highway from York down to Tenterden then east to Ravensthorpe. Florabase records the Narembeen shire as one such location.