After breakfast we go for a more leisurely search around our campsite for any orchids we may have missed in our late search yesterday. Ant orchid (Caladenia roei), Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata), Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) were again located as was one Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) with a dangling labellum. Also found was a yet to open Thelymitra species.
No hint as to the type
Prominently tri-lobed labellum
Yellow, red marked flowers
Smooth margined labellum
We then hurried back to camp, packed up a headed back along the track we drove down late yesterday afternoon. First up were some Donkey orchids, which due to the location they must be Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris brachyscapa).
Broad spreading lateral lobes to the labellum
Short, broad dorsal sepal
Top down view
Further along we find more Cowslip orchids plus better specimens of the Fringed mantis orchid.
Shorter lateral sepals
Group with long lateral sepals
No right way up to the photo, taken looking directly down onto the flowers
Red-tipped labellum, with long comb like fringe segments
Large green yellow and red flowers
Comb-like fringe segments to the smooth labellum
Upswept, narrowly-clubbed lateral sepals
And finally after a very long spell we finally find another Pterostylis specimen, the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva).
Looking into the Jug
The glistening flower
Showing the colour variations
Our final stop along the bush track was at a small granite outcrop, where we found some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and some yet to flower Elbow orchids (Spiculaea ciliata)
Antennae like labellum appendeges
Broad, spreading petals and sepals
Getting close to flowering
Leaf is shrivelled at time of flowering
We leave Tutanning N. R. and head on down to Wickepin, where we have a yummy lunch, before heading over to visit Toolibin N. R.. On the track in we spy many Fringe mantis orchids, some with two flowers per stem.
Size comparison to my fingers
Dorsal sepal horizontal basally, the curved upwards and forward
The lateral sepals up curved to almost vertical
Twin headers were common at Toolibin Lake N.R.
Looking top down shows how reclined the flowers are. Twins on one stem
Moderately long, indistinct clubs on the sepals
Red tipped labellum
Size comparison of the entire plant. Another twin header
1 – 2 reclining flowers
We decided to take a walk alongside the track to see what other orchids may be around. We came across Cowslip orchids, Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia).
Yellow flower with red markings
Small, squat flowers
Very broad labellum, with 4 – 6 rows of short, thick, crowded calli
Can have up to 4 flowers per plant
Horizontally spreading petals and lateral sepals
Prominently tri-lobed labellum
Stiffly spreading, petals and sepals
Up to 4 flowers per orchid
We then drove to the parking area and attempted the lake walk, however it was closed due to flooding from recent heavy rain, which had washed away some of the infrastructure. I decided to walk back along the track and Deb drove the Triton, which proved fortuitous as I found some Ant orchids and Deb found some spider orchids.
Pale yellow to yellowish-green with variable reddish stripes.
Lateral sepals tapering to thickened tips rather than a narrow tail before the clubs
Smooth-margined, greenish-yellow, red tipped labellum
This one lacks the usual red colouring but the calli give it away
Easily distinguishable due to the short, thick, rounded, glossy black calli
Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is the obvious specie as it has a smooth margined labellum with distinctive striping.
Cream coloured, red-striped labellum
Reddish-brown to dark brown tails to petals and sepals
Drooping petals and lateral sepals
Red-striped smooth-margined labellum
Up to 2 red and cream flowers
Final find before hitting the Wickepin-Harrismith Rd is a great Pink fairy twin.
120 – 450mm high
As soon as we got on the Wickepin-Harrismith Road we took a track near Dulbining Lake, that seemed to run adjacent to the road and drove along in 1st gear with our heads hanging out the window looking. Some spider orchids are seen on the left hand side of the track, so we alight from the Triton to check them out. They appear to be Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata).
Red striped labellum
Narrow, usually pendulous petals and lateral sepals
Index finger a bottom of photo for size comparison
Moving slowly along this track we find many other orchids, starting with Cowslip orchids, Fringed mantis orchid and Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea).
Deformed lateral sepal on both flowers
Bright yellow variation
3 flowers in close proximity
Size comparison to index finger
Up to 2 green, yellow and red flowers
Short, spreading petals and lateral sepals
Labellum with short fringe segments and four or more rows of calli
Pale pink colouring
Brighter pink colouring
Location gives up name not the colouring
Deep pink colouring
Then we find what we initially thought were more Ant orchids. However on closer inspection we have found Purple-veined spider orchid (Caladenia doutchiae) which flowers August to October between Mullewa and Ravensthorpe. In the middle of all these is a lone Ant orchid.
Smooth-margined, greenish-yellow, rep tipped labellum
Long, shortly-clubbed lateral sepals
Greenish to greenish-yellow and red flowers
Short petals and long lateral sepals
Joined by spider web between the dorsal sepals
Appear to be dancing
Lack clubbing of sepals
short red calli
A common wheatbelt spider orchid
Final orchids found before getting back on the sealed road were what appeared at first to be Common spider orchids. However the flowers had much broader labellum’s and if they were fully unfurled, long petals and sepals. I am going to name these Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which flower August to early October in a range from Wongan Hills to Walpole.
Up to 3 flowers per stem
Nearly fully unfurled
Relatively broad, red-striped labellum with serrate to dentate fringe segemnts
2 rows of white, sometimes pale-red-tipped calli
Once fully unfurled the petals and sepals will be long and pendulous
Travelling west we arrive at Harrismith and as the weather was looking like rain we decide to book a room rather than risk getting our canvas camper wet. Rather than a room we take the donger which has its own shower and toilet. Was really cheap and rough but was sufficient for 1 night. After unpacking into the bedroom we decide to take a drive around the self drive wildflower tour. Our first orchids were more Fringed mantis orchids. (Mud Map SE 10)
Common wheatbelt orchid
Greenish-yellow, red tipped labellum
Lateral sepals are narrowly clubbed
Prominently up-swept lateral sepals
Also found were Western wheatbelt donkey orchids, Sugar orchid and Jug orchids.
Short, broad dorsal sepal
Spreading petals and sepals
Dark green, fawn and white flowers
Back just before sunset, so we have a shower and get changed into fresh clothes, then make our way over to the Oasis Hotel for a meal, game of pool and a few drinks to celebrate finding 15 different orchids.