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.
50 – 150mm tall
Short horizontal spreading petals and lateral sepals
Two rows of bright yellow calli
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.
Sparse rosette of long stemmed leaves
Not a slender snail
Narrowly clubbed sepals
Standing tall with a shorter version
Next I find the usual Esperance king spider orchids (Caladenia decora) in flower.
Size of flower compared to my hand
White red-tipped labellum
Spreading petals and lateral sepals
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.
2 erect ear like lateral lobes
Distinctive column with mid lobe and two erect ear like lobes
Up to 2, rarely 3, flowers per stem
Distinctive striped flowers
Opens in bright sunshine
Typical sun orchid- facing the sun
Spiral leaf – Narrow up to 90mm in length
Flowers 20 – 30 mm accross
100 to 300mm in height
Forward projecting mid lobe to column
Deep blue-mauve striped flowers
So happy to have found some Southern curly-locks as the one and only previously found plant we could not be located this year.
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).
Elongated, slightly cupped lateral sepals
Erect, narrow-ended lateral sepals
Snail and greenhood meet
Variable height, 50 to 150mm
Watch out behind you!!
Small hood of snails
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.
Single, erect, hairy leaf 90 – 120mm long. Small friend nearby
Long lateral sepals on this one
4 or more rows of pale to deep red calli
White, red-tipped labellum
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’
Beautifully formed snail orchid
Short, thickened lateral sepals
Rosette 10-15mm across, 2 stem leaves
I also found a new patch of what appears to be Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) getting ready to bloom.
Last orchid found for the day was a nice specimen of a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea)