Successful sharing – Boyatup and more

Day Trip

22/09/2019

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


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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.

Road Trip 2019 – Ravensthorpe to Esperance

National Parks, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stokes

08/09/2019

After a wonderful night at our son’s place it is time to head off on the final day of our road trip. Leaving Ravensthorpe we make our way to Mt Desmond lookout, off Elverdton Road. Growing alongside the newly grader road to the lookout, were some small Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta). Felt lucky to find them as the roadworks had cleared the places we had found orchids on previous visits. These little orchids are found from Dumbleyung to Mt Ragged during the period August to early-October. Also found closer to Elverdton Road was a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which is a common orchid, found flowering between Geraldton and Israelite Bay during August through October.

Moving further east, we visit another of our favourite spots, Mills Road near Munglinup. Deb finds the first of many orchids found in this location. The 4 orchids are hybrids of the Caladenia sp. Unable to positively ID so will just post some photos. I think Caladenia radialis or Caladenia brevisura may one of the parents. Please assist with ID if you can.

Found very close-by are some Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana). These small orchids flower from August to early-November in a southerly range from Lancelin to Esperance.

Intermixed with the Zebra orchids was a Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which adds to the possibility that it is a parent of the hybrid orchids found earlier. These orchids are found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay during the months of August and September.

After further exploration a sole green spider orchid was discovered. However many more were found after further searching. The Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) is as the name suggests, smaller than the related Fringed mantis orchid, we found earlier in the road trip. Flowering season is August to early-October and the Small mantis orchid is found between Jerramungup and Israelite Bay,

Another spider orchid is found, this time from the filamentosa complex. The Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) flowers from August to early-October between Fitzgerald River National Park and Balladonia. The Cream spider orchid is also listed as having rare hybrids with the short-sepaled spider orchid, so it may be another parent of the previously mentioned hybrids found at this site.

A single spider orchid from the same complex, but another species is found. This time the smaller Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) is found. Smaller labellum, thinner sepals and whiter colouring provide me with this identification.

The final orchid found in this location is the small Western tiny blue orchid.

As it is only mid-morning we decide to visit Stokes National Park, before finally heading for home. Upon arriving at the campground we immediately spy some king spider orchids. One of them is a bit worse for wear with his labellum eaten out. Non damaged specimens found with variations in colour, from bright red to pale green so identifying these will be interesting, as both the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) and Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) occur in this location and they are difficult to tell apart. They may also hybridise with each other, so ID will not be attempted at this time. Lots of photos below to show my dilemma.

Well we thought there were lots of king spider orchids, but there is also as many Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia), which flower from August to early-November between Kalbarri and Israelite Bay. Here they range in size and colour, which just adds to the thrill of finding so many.

Some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) were also found, whilst pushing into the scrub to grab photos of the Pink fairies. Moving on, we leave the campground and drive back towards the intersection to the day area,where we had previously found orchids. We were not disappointed as we find a few Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) in flower. These are widespread sun orchids found from Shark Bay to Israelite Bay during the months July through October.

Also found at this corner is the every popular Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which is also a widespread orchid with a long flowering period. These ones were a bit unusual as they had white tips to the petals. Usually solid yellow with markings.

Final orchid found for the day was a unique spider orchid, which we last found at Helms Arboretum a few years back. A single Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) is found growing in the roadside drain under the protection of overhanging banksia bushes. Found between Mt Manypeaks and Israelite Bay during August and September this orchid self pollinates so is in flower for only a few days at the most,so we are very lucky to have found one in flower.

One hour from home and nearly noon so we decide to make tracks, so we can have lunch in our own home. Mixed emotions as we remember the last 2 weeks during this last hour of our 2019 Road Trip.

The first week did not go to plan however we made up for it by visiting Margaret River and tasting a few wines. Then we had a great time catching up with friends from our Rural youth days before our 2nd week, which did not include the planned visit to Charles Darwin Reserve, however we discovered some great new un-planned locations. A special catch up with my cousin Mary-lou that included meeting the eldest cousin Ian for the first time. Only took 55 years.

The major purpose of our road trip, other than having fun getting out in the great Western Australian outdoors, is the discovery of our very special terrestrial orchids, most of which are endemic to WA. On this note we located 70 species/sub species of orchids from 10 genera, with multiple hybrids and hypochromic variants. Refer this post for their details. 2019 Road Trip – Orchids Found

So privileged to witness the natural beauty of our amazing little corner of the world!!!!!!

Park Closure – Helms to the Rescue

Helms Arboretum, Within 20kms of Esperance

11/08/2019

Considering we should be waking up out at Thomas River for another day exploring Cape Arid National Park on our weekend camping, (Refer 10/08/2019 post) we cannot stay home this Sunday. So where do we go on a cool overcast August day? Helms Arboretum of course. (Mud Map SE 35). This should provide us some compensation for missing out on our camping weekend.

On arriving we first check out Entrance Plot 21 along the southern edge. We straight away find some Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) and possible hybrids growing tall amongst the thick weeds.

In the unnamed southern side of the track we find some small snail orchids. Consensus is these are an unnamed species which has been tentatively called the Helm’s snail orchid (Pterostylis sp.) as they do not fit any of the named species recorded for the location.

Moving on to Plot 21 on Brockway Road, just past the wooden log sign marking Helms Arboretum, where there is usually a good patch of spider orchids growing under the large tree. Again appears to be Esperance king spider orchids in various shapes, sizes and colours.

Next we move onto Plot 12 which is planted in a species of pine, so very minimal undergrowth, which makes for easy searching. Nothing much was found before we both stumbled across a massive nook of snail orchids. What an amazing sight to behold. These snail orchids differ to the earlier found ones by having much thinner lateral sepals which do not appear clubbed. From this they appear to be the Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) which flower in woodlands between the Stirling Ranges and Esperance during August and September.

Moving on to Plot 9 we park between Plots 9 & 13 where a patch of yellow catches my eye. The always bright Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp.flava) is found. The we find the Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta) in our search of Plot 9. For size appreciation, I grabbed a shot with the Wild Orchid Watch scale card.

Moving to the area we have found large spider orchids before we are shocked to see that people have driven into the plot to saw up firewood, which is illegal in this reserve. They have driven right through the area our spiders were found. With a sigh of relief we find some flowering, however the numbers were definitely down from last year. Again these are beautiful specimens of the Esperance king spider orchid.

As previously found in Plot 9 we finally find some snail orchids (Ravensthorpe or Helms) and many more Western tiny blue orchids. Few pics taken before moving on.

Next is Plot 38 along Jolowah Road. where we find more Esperance king spider orchids and a spent but visible greenhood. Also a lone Cowslip and Western tiny blue orchid is found.

We then moved on to Western boundary (Marked X) and found the lone Southern curly locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) which we have struggled to find flowering over the years. It was nearly open but not enough sun today unfortunately.

We needed to keep moving as it was now past 3pm and it was getting cold. We moved on to the plot were we have found Zebra orchids on previous seasons. We found Greenhood, Cowslip and Spider orchids on the way.

In between Plots 109 and 110 is where we have previously have found Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we are not disappointed this year. However numbers are way down on previous years. Zebra orchids flower July to September over a range from Nerren Nerren Station to Mt Ragged.

So we did not get to have our camping weekend out at Cape Arid National Park due to the roads being closed , however we did get to experience the orchid bounty after a summer bush fire at Boyatup hill and good old Helms Arboretum provided us with an afternoon of orchid finds, so we cannot complain.

Boyatup Bounty after Bush Fire

Day Trip

10/08/2019

A weekend away, out East of Esperance, is planned. So after breakfast we hitch up the camper and head out Fisheries Road. Our first point of call is our Coolinup road site. (Mud Map SE 37,38) There is finally some water around, so we make our way into the site and first up find the small Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) still covered in rain drops. There also appears to be some Cream spider orchids (Caladenia horistes) intermixed in. These orchids flower August to early October in a southerly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia. These two spider orchids have overlapping locations and both belong to the Caladenia filamentosa complex. They differ in flower colour and wispiness of petals and sepals.

Then underneath the thick tea tree bushes Debbie comes across some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) which flower between Perth and Israelite Bay in the months June to August. These differ to the similarly located Midge orchid by the broad labellum.

Nearby more spider orchids are found with neighbouring Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which are yet to fully open.

Also nearby are the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Mallee banded greenoods (Pterostylis arbuscula) which differ in the number of flowers, colouring of flowers and overall height of the plant.

Venturing across the road more greenhoods are found as are many spider orchids in large groupings, especially protected under the tee tree bushes. The surprise finding was a recognisable Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) way passed its prime, but still another species located for the day. A nice solo Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) is found plus Deb stumbles across a small beautiful Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber). This one was only 20mm in height.

Such great finds already and we have yet to arrive at our planned camping area, so we can set up and have lunch. So off we head towards Thomas River campground.

Oh no! The road to Cape Arid National Park is closed so we cannot reach Thomas River. Now what?

As we are close to Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE 40), we decide to go there first and figure out where to camp later. Luckily Deb had pre-made lunch so we quickly have a bite to eat then make tracks for Boyatup.

At out usual first stop, along the track in, we immediately find a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) on the right hand side together with an unusually coloured donkey orchid. Both are still covered in rain drops.

Moving to the left hand side of the track, as it is less bushy, we find some Cream spider orchids, Western wispy spider orchids, Dancing spider orchids and Jug orchids.

Finally a different spider orchid is found. Appears to be from the King spider orchid complex. From it’s appearance I believe it to be a Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora), which flowers August to October between Bremer Bay and Cape Arid. May be the closely related Heberle’s spider orchid which has a similar appearance and range.

Time to walk further along the track towards the old gravel pit. Mallee banded greenhoods, another spent Hare orchid and some Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) are found. These little blue orchids flower from August to October between Dumbleyung and Mt Ragged.

As we reach the other side of gravel pit the landscape turns black. A bush fire had swept through the area last summer, so this is why we planned a visit to this location. We have yet to witness the orchid bloom after a summer fire. Fingers crossed the devastation of the bush fire does lead to new life and we will finally get to observe this.

Immediately to the left as we exit the gravel pit is a lonely Dancing spider orchid growing in the blackened soil. Deb finds some Blue beards nearby which stand out easily against the black.

Then the first pink speck is sighted. Pink bunny orchids begin to appear in scattered groups all over the place. Many more blue beards are found, some growing in clumps. Other Mallee banded greenhoods and Western tiny blue orchids are also found. We are able to explore a much greater area as the fire has cleared away all the undergrowth, leaving just blackened bushes and trees.

We reach the spot we usually park the Triton as the track gets very thin and would scratch the hell out of the paintwork. However we have the camper in tow, so cannot turn around here. So we have to drive further up the track to the granite rocks so we can attempt to turn around. Not that we drive only, as we park and go exploring every five minutes or so. We chew up time but get to explore so much more ground.

Our usual orchid at this part of the track is the Mosquito orchid however only a few leaves are visible in the burnt bushes at the edge of the track. It is not until we venture further afield do we locate some in flower. Also found in this part of the search were more Blue beards and Western wispy spider orchids.

We make it to the turn around spot of the flat granite however the ground between the rock is very soft, so it is a very boggy event, however Deb as always gets us through. Now we are facing the way out we can breathe a bit easier. So why not keep on expanding our search towards the hill itself.

Woohoo we have found our first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) of the day. These bright yellow beauties always brighten up the day. Then at the base of the hill we discover a vast patch of Western Wispy spider orchids growing under the protection of a bush.

Moving back down towards the Triton we find more Pink bunny orchids, Cream spider orchids, Mallee banded greenhoods and Blue beards.

Then another yellow orchid is found. The Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) is recorded as being located between Denmark and Esperance, however http://www.esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com records this orchid as being found east of Esperance and the Orchids of South-West Australia (4th Edition) range map indicates occurrence in Cape Arid, so I am confident is this classification.

Then in an area that would have been impenetrable prior to the fire we find a fully open Esperance king spider orchid. A neighbouring dual headed specimen though appears to be the closely related Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia heberleana) due to it’s narrowly clubbed petals and sepals. They flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid, so this must be an early flowering one or a mis-classification. Both are very attractive large spider orchids non the less.

We just noticed it is now after 3.30pm and we have yet to decide where we will camp the night, so quickly head back to the Triton and drive back to Fisheries Road. Our thought s were to head into Alexander Bay and camp at the shire campground, but then decided the way in will be wet and slippery, given the closure of Cape Arid National Park, so we decide we will instead go home and sleep in our own bed.

That being decided we breathed a sigh of relief and headed back West. A detour via Condingup Lookout (Mud Map SE 39) though could not be bypassed. We drive up to the Telstra tower and park up. First spot to check is the granite rock outcrop. However on the way there we discover some beautiful snail orchids hiding on the edge of the track. These little guys appear to be the Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) which are found from the Stirling Ranges to Israelite Bay. They darken with age and flower June through to August, hence the reddish tinge.

We arrived at the granite outcrop and the large hood of snails had already been and flowered and the nearby mosquito orchids were nowhere to be seen. Disappointed I was walking back to the Triton when Deb decides to go into the scrub on a wide berth back. I’m glad she persevered as she stumbled across many Fawn snail orchids and Pink bunny orchids flowering in the moss on the flat granite rocks. Also found were some Green range donkey orchids, Blue beards and Western wispy spider orchids. Not a bad detour Deb!

Finally back in the Triton we make our way down the hill, stopping to check on the Bird orchids growing alongside the road. The rosettes are still growing up but still a way off flowering yet. Also found a finished Scented Autumn leek orchid.

Moving on as it it now 5pm we park down on our usual spot on the Lookout Road and have a quick scout for anything in flower. We find a possible Cream spider orchid, a very old Hare orchid and some Pink bunny orchids. One pink bunny was found flowering in a field of non flowering bunny leaves. I took a photo to show how the leaves change when they flower.

So as the light fades we make our way back to Esperance, thankful that we got to witness how some orchids thrive after a summer bush fire. Pink bunny orchids were very prolific at Boyatup Hill as were the Blue beards. It was hard to walk around without feeling like you are stepping on some, but we did our best to minimise this by treading carefully. All up we found 16 orchid species flowering with 1 yet to flower (Bird) and 1 finished (Leek). 14 of the found orchids were located at Boyatup so the bush fire did produce a bounty for us to discover. Well worth the day trip, it is a pity the weekend planned did not occur.

You may have noticed some of the photos have a Scale card produced by the Wild Orchid Watch (WOW) a citizen science project arranged by the The University of Adelaide. Please refer to their web page at http://www.wildorchidwatch.org plus their Facebook and Instagram pages. If you are based in Australia please register your interest, as an App is close to being released which will allow you to record your findings.

And it was all Yellow!!!!

Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Within 20kms of Esperance, Woody Lake

30/09/2018

Deb arrives home after another overnight shift and seeing it is Sunday we decide to take a trip out to Coolinup Road so we can get a decent orchid hunt in before her next shift starts at 5pm. 

We arrive at the little granite spot on Coolinup Road (Mud Map SE37/38), park the Triton and go exploring. In a field of Yellow flowering sundews (drosera) we find some bee orchids. Due to their small stature I will be naming these the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers September and October in a large range from Gingin to Israelite Bay.

Also hiding in the yellow carpet were some small Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower July thru October in a very large range from Kalbarri  to Kalgoorlie to Israelite Bay including the whole South West corner.

What is it with yellow flowers today? Looking all alone is a small Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which has the same large range and flowering period as the Lemon-scented sun orchid.

We decide to move away from the moist margins of the granite rock into the nearby scrub, via a recently bulldozed track and were rewarded with some spider orchids. They appear to be Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) which flower August to October in a south coastal from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid.

As Debbie was moving aside from taking photos of the Spider orchid, to let me get some shots, she yelled in excitement as there hidden by a small shrub were some Bird orchids. My older reference book from 2013 would have this orchid named Esperance bird orchid (Pterostylis sp.’Epserance’), however my latest reference book from 2019 has included this orchid into the Bearded bird orchid (Pterostylis turfosa) species which has now extended it’s range of Bunbury to- East Mt Barren further east to Condingup.

So happy to have found the bird orchids but we must move on. Walking back to the Triton we find a small double-headed Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis) which flower August to early November in a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Then just before leaving had to grab some more pics of yellow.

I quickly run over the road and was rewarded with a grouping of Purple enamel orchids plus a large spider orchid which appears to be a hybrid, (Caladenia decora x C. longicauda). This hybrid is very common between the King and White Esperance spider orchids. 

Who would have thought across the road would turn up such beauties. Well we finally move on to our track further north up Coolinup Road. First orchid found, the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) was past its best. It flowers August to October between Geraldton and Israelite Bay. Then within minutes, more Purple enamel orchids are found.

It was another 15 mins or so before we finally found something of interest. The very distinct Rattle beaks (Lyperanthus serratus) is found growing through the shrubbery. These brown and green orchid are found from Perth to Israelite Bay and flower in the months of September and October.

Then under our favourite  WA Christmas Tree we find a couple of little spider orchids. The Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) flowers August and September in a restricted location from Ravensthorpe to Israelite Bay.

Debbie then ventures deeper into the scrub to the North of the area we usually check and is rewarded with finding some very large Custard orchids (Thelymitra villosa), which flower September through November in a large range, from Northampton to Israelite Bay. They have a distinctive large, broad hairy leaf and are brown-blotched yellow flowers. The blotching is more pronounced in the south eastern part of it’s range, which is where we have found it. You beauty Deb as this is a first for us this season. 

After taking  many photos of the custard orchids, we must move on as it it now 11.30am and Debbie starts her next shift at 5.00pm. Walking back towards the Triton on the gravel track we are lucky to find some more Rattle beaks. So of course more photos were taken.

We now move onto our patch off Lane Road for a bite to eat. However before reaching the patch Debbie spies some spider orchids at the edge of the road, so I pull over to get a closer look. Large spider orchids appear with one being a Hypocromic specimen. Other nearby ones appear to be the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp.crassa) which as the name suggests is found around the Esperance local, from Cape Arid to Jerramungup. They flower August to early October and these guys appear close to the end of their life.

Esperance white spider orchid

Hypochromic specimen

Under the same bushes we also find a Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media subsp. media) and a pair of Cowslip orchids. The Common mignonette orchid flowers September to January from Shark Bay to Eyre.

Moving on to lunch in our little clearing just off Lane Road, which as usual is eaten out of the tray of the Triton. Then we go for a quick look around in the surrounding scrub. Nothing found so we move on and travel slowly along Lane Road where we find more spider orchids. They are more Esperance king spider orchids with 1 specimen having very distinct clubs to the lateral sepals. They may also be further hybrids between the Esperance king spider orchid and the Esperance white spider orchid. 

Also located near the spider orchids were some more Cowslip orchids and Purple enamel orchids.

We make it a further 3kms up Lane Road before we pull over to check out a bush block on the right. We are restricted on proceeding into the scrub very far by a fence, however as this area was was open we were able to move around easily. First orchids found were the small bee orchids together with some Lemon-scented sun orchids. Also found was a sole Rattle beak. On closer inspection the bee orchids are more yellow than the previous ones found today, with less markings so I refer to my orchid books for assistance. I now confidently name these ones Elegant donkey orchid (Diuris concinna), which flowers September to early December between Cape Arid and Fitzgerald River National Parks.

So lucky I got some photos of the Elegant donkey orchid. Not great shots but I now have a record of this first find. Next stop is near the old Neridup tennis courts where we find a good number of spiders orchids. These appear to be more Esperance king spider orchids as they are more brightly coloured with clubbed sepals. 

Time is getting away from us, so we make tracks down Backmans to Scaddan Road where we make one last roadside stop to grab some photos of an unidentified spider orchid.

Leaving this last stop we head for home, so Debbie can get ready for her shift which starts in just over 3hrs. 

After Debbie leaves for work I decide to take a quick look in the Woody Lake Nature Reserve along the Kepwari Walk trail from the Wheatfield Lake end, as a colleague at work mentioned he saw some possible orchids when he was riding his pushbike down the trail. After walking over 1 km of the trail the only orchids found were small patches of Cowslip orchids. The flowers my colleague described were some lily type flowers. Not orchids, unfortunately.

Cowslip orchids

Growing on the side of Kepwari walk trail

As the name for this post suggests, the common colour this day was YELLOW. 

Common Bee orhcid

Elegant donkey orchid

Cowslip orchid

Lemon-scented suns orchid

Custard orchid

It was a very successful last day of September, which is the month when Western Australian orchids are most prolific. We found 13 different species and 1 hybrid, together with a Hypochromic variant. 2 first time finds – Elegant donkey orchid and Custard orchid were the icing on the cake.

Queens Birthday quest

Dempster Head, Within 20kms of Esperance

24/09/2018

Today is a public holiday to celebrate the Queens Birthday in WA, however Debbie has to start her overnight shift at 2.00pm, so my dilema is what to do on a lonely afternoon when the weather is fine. 

Go orchid hunting of course!! 

Location ?

Dempster Head it is, as my last visit was back in late July. (Mud Map SE34 )

Leaving the car at the Rotary Lookout I venture towards Dempster Heads looking into the scrub alongside the granite. I then take one of the tracks made by mountain bikers, which are now banned from the Nature Reserve. My first find is a small Spectacled donkey orchid (Diuris conspicillata) which is only found around coastal granite outcrops in the Esperance area. They flower during August and September. The common name refers to the fact that the dark patches on the labellum lateral lobes are toward the centre rather than the edge, as is the case with all other donkey orchids. The scientific name, Conspicillata also means spectacled. A pair was found nearby looking like they are nearing the end of their season. So lucky to have found these to document for the first time.

So I move back towards an area that I had previously found orchids from the Pterostylis genus, hoping that there may be some late bloomers still in flower. I luckily find one small snail orchid still flowering. I have identified this one as the Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis voigtii) which is found Esperance to Israelite Bay flowering July to early September. Given the dates it is a wonder I still found one in flower.

Eastern granite snail orchid

Standing only 50mm in height.

Both orchids found so far are ones limited in range to the Esperance area, which is very special. Moving back towards the mountain bike tracks I stumble across another Esperance orchid. The Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) which does occur over a much larger area, from Fitzgerald River National Park to Cape Arid National Park during August to October.

As one of the largest spider orchids in WA it makes an impressive sight. Especially when compared to the next orchid found. I have moved over to the port side of the reserve past the Water Authority tanks. Here I found a small group of  leek orchids of the prasophyllum genus. They appear to be the Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) due to the smaller size of the flowers lateral sepals. These guys flower September to January within 100km of the coast from Dongara to Cape le Grande. This is a new find for me as we usually find the very similar Little laughing leek orchid.

I now make my way back towards the Rotary Lookout, but detour below the Water Authority tanks. This was a fortuitous choice as I stumbled across a couple of Esperance white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa). These large white spider orchids flower during September and October from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid National Park.

Nearly 5.30 in the afternoon, so I had better make tracks home. Was a very successful hunt around Dempster Head Nature Reserve, with 5 orchid species from 4 different genus found. 

Esperance Excellence

Helms Arboretum, Myrup, Within 20kms of Esperance

16/09/2018

After our eventful trip along the Holland Track going back to everyday life is hard. Today though we get to babysit our grandson Oliver (Ollie) whilst his parents have a photoshoot. 

Location for the photoshoot is Helms Arboretum, so we may as well kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Orchid hunting, then babysitting, then more orchid hunting. Sound like a plan.

The arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) will always produce the goods. The question is will it produce any surprises. 

Just through the gates, we take the first track to the left and immediately we spy orchids. We had to be careful getting out of the Triton as there we Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana) growing right near the wheel tracks. These little orchids are found from Esperance to Lancelin growing August to November.

Larger orchids from the Caladenia genus were found on both sides of the track. The large orchids are none other than the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) which flowers August to October in a small range from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid. Colours range from mostly red to greenish yellow and everything in between.

The final find before moving on to our babysitting duties was the small yellow Common Bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which is found September to October in a large range from Gingin to Israelite Bay.

For the next 2 hours we look after Ollie, so Jace and Amber can get some classic photos prior to the arrival of their daughter, who is due within weeks.

Photoshoot over, so we say our goodbyes to the little family and continue with our orchid hunt. However to ensure we increase our chances of finding something different we decide to move onto our Myrup location. 

First orchids found were more Esperance king spider orchids, with many  in clusters. Variable in colour again, but oh so impressive.

Also found was the wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) which flowers over a huge range from north of Geraldton to Israelite Bay. There is great variability in the shape of these orchids and the amount and type of red markings. 

Pushing into the tea tree thicket we stumbled across a duo of another Caladenia genus orchid. This time it is a Short-sepalled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) which is found between Borden and Israelite Bay during the months August to October.

Then to our surprise we find a little Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) nearby. These guys flower August to October as well, though over a much larger range. Kalbarri to Israelite Bay in fact.

Then the final new orchid for the day is found. Appears to be the Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) which flowers August & September in an easterly range from Hyden to Israelite Bay.

Western wispy spider orchid

Western Wispy spider orchid

There are so many Esperance king spider orchids in flower. To enable this to be appreciated I took a short video looking around. 

Also took some more photos of other orchids found. Previously mentioned in this post so will just let you enjoy some more orchids.

Seven species located today so all in all it was a successful day hunting. The Esperance region certainly is Excellent.

Helm’s Arboretum in August

Helms Arboretum, Within 20kms of Esperance

19/08/2018

We are busy organising ourselves for our 2 week road trip, so given this is our final weekend, we take a few hours break and head out to Helm’s Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) to see what is flowering now. We make our way to the plot we usually find many snail orchids, however the first orchid found is the small Western Tiny Blue Orchid (Cyanicula aperta). These little beauties are found August to early October in a range from Dumbleyung and Mt Ragged.

Then we stumble across the snail orchids we had come to see. Still unable to name this species due to it not matching up with any of my reference books on location and or description.  Variation in rosettes may infer they are actually 2 species. 

Next I find the usual Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) in flower.

Whilst I take photos of the spider orchids Deb gets chatting to a fellow orchid enthusiast who shares with us her location of some Southern curly locks (Thelymitra uliginosa) within Helm’s Arboretum. We make our way to the said location and after around 15 mins of searching we find these small orchids flowering in the beautiful sunshine. The flowers themselves are only a 10c piece in size. These flower August and September in a range from Northcliffe and Mt Manypeaks with disjunct populations in Esperance and Perth.

So happy to have found some Southern curly-locks as the one and only previously found plant we could not be located this year.

Caladenis decora

Spiders awaken

Uncategorized

28/07/2018

After another wonderful brunch at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park we make our way to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35 ) to see if anything has flowered since we last visited a fortnight ago. 

First stop was just off the highway where we decided to jump out and check closer, even though we could see nothing from looking out the Triton windows. Deb found the first orchids of the day. The Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) were in hoods, spread over the entire area.  Also found close-by were some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Further into the arboretum we find our first spider orchids of the season. Only two individual plants were found flowering and both are the Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora). These flower August to October in a range from Bremer Bay to Cape Arid. 

Other snail orchids are found which appear to be a different species, as they lack the hairy stem. Checking with my esteemed colleague Margaret P. it appears to be an unnamed species currently termed Pterostylis sp. ‘Helms Arboretum’    

I also found a new patch of what appears to be Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) getting ready to bloom.

Western tiny blue orchids

Group of 6 or more ready to flower

Last orchid found for the day was a nice specimen of a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea)  

As usual Helms Arboretum delivers.