Last Hoorah of our Holidays

22/09/2017

As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis).  Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).

In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.

Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.

 We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot,  towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).

As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.

Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.

More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.

Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.

The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.

Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans.  Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au  and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid.  I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being  West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.

 Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.

The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain

Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.

We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.

On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.

Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.

Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.

Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.

We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.

We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding  a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.

After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and  Common bee orchids.

Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.

Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.

Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.

Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids.  No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.

Road Trip – Day 2 – Wagin to Kwolyin

02/9/2017

After a quick breakfast and a long hot shower we make up the thermos and head off to fuel up, then make tracks for the North Wagin Nature Reserve, our first planned stop of the day. Just off the road, on the track chosen to push into the reserve, I spy a group of Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) which we will check out on the way back. We park the Triton and camper near a dam and head out on foot to check out this new location. First find is the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata), quickly followed by Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘western wheatbelt’).

Many donkey orchids were found and mixed in with these we found some Little pink fairy orchids (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) distinguished by their leaf having a red coloured underside. Another common orchid found here was the Fringed mantis orchid (Caladenia falcata) which competed with the donkey orchid to be the most common orchid in this location. As planned we took pictures of the Jug orchids as we made tracks for our next location.

Piesseville was our next location and we finally found flowering orchids, after other visits turned up leaves and buds only. As with the Wagin location the Fringed mantis orchid was very common, as were the Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), however the later were restricted to a few metres in from the road. Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) was also plentiful, but further into the bush.

The first spider orchid found is a Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) and nearby a reddish version of the same flower.A very different spider orchid is then found. The Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea). Unlike previous specimens found this season near Esperance,this one finally looks like the ones in the books.

In the northerly section of the location we find some Western wheatbelt donkey orchids and in the swampy section I find some Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) of varying shades. I track down Deb who has crossed to the other side of the road and took her back to where the Blue beards were located.

On the way back to the Blue beards more spider orchids were found. Chameleon spider orchid, Crimson spider orchid (Caladenia footeana)  which flowers July to early October between Cranbrook and Binnu and Chapmans spider orchid (Caladenia chapmanii) which flowers September to mid-October between Boyup Brook, Kojonup and Northam, all within a few metres of each other.

Then an OMG moment, when Deb spies an all red spider orchid. Appears to be Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) NEW FIND!!!! These are found between Tenterden and Wongan Hills and flower August to early October. Not 100% certain as it was not clumping, but single flowers. Edit: After locating Blood spider orchids at Forsyth Woodland this one appears to be a red variant of another species.

Other orchids found at this location were Jug orchids and Banded greenhoods.

We moved on and called into Narrogin to buy some supplies and an extra gas cartridge for the shower unit. We then drove north-east and stopped off at North Yilliminning Nature Reserve for lunch and checked out this new location. Not far into our search and we were bombarded with yellow from so many Cowslip orchids. Various shapes, patterns and sizes with some having very long lateral sepals.

Next orchid found was the small Sugar orchid followed closely with some Donkey orchids. Most likely, Western wheatbelt donkey orchids. Also found were some Banded greenhoods

A very unusual colour catches Deb’s eye as she has found a Hybrid orchid. A Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) which is a hybrid formed by a Cowslip and Pink fairy cross pollinating. Further colour variations were found. However to muddy the waters, the Little pink fairy orchid is found which may be a parent of the hybrids, in which case the orchid is unnamed and referred to as (Caladenia flava x C. reptans). For now I will leave the judgement open.

Edit: 29/10/2017 – From further investigations it appears all Hybrids found were Spectacular spider orchids due to the longer lateral sepals. Blooms August to October and found from Kalbarri to Esperance

Final orchids found were a sole Hairy stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) and some further Jug orchids.

Quick toilet stop in Wickepin, which was a very neat little town with a museum for Albert Facey, who is famous for his autobiography “A Fortunate Life”. We make one final stop, before catching up with Richard, at Malyalling Nature Reserve. Along the road that dissects the N.R. I spot some Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which flower August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe, and when taking photos also noticed Fringed mantis orchids nearby.

Some Donkey orchids were also found and at the Eastern boundary of the N.R. we found a patch of  Fringed mantis orchids. Too many to count.

We made our way back to the low granite outcrop and Deb immediately finds some purple variants of the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is quite rare according to my orchid book, so a great find Deb!! Also found on this rock were Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) which flower from July to October between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay and very small donkey orchids.

After finding 18 orchid varieties it is now time to head off for Kwolyin campground, where Richard is waiting for us. … Trio travelling begins.

Kwolyin campground
Triton and camper . Richard with Red Triton and tent.

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

A list of the orchids from the Caladenia Genus that I have been lucky enough to find.

Caladenia filamentosa complex (Wispy spider orchids) 

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 43 Western Australian species

  • A single, usually narrow, hairy leaf with in-curved margins.
  • Up to 3 flowers.
  • Most species have long wispy petals and lateral sepals.
  • 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 microchila (Western wispy spider orchid) 16/07/2017

Caladenia pendens (Pendant spider orchid) 01/09/2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


Caladenia huegelii complex (King spider orchid)

Flowering – August to December

There are 22 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • 1 to 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Most have shorter petals than lateral sepals.
  • 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)


Caladenia longiclavata complex (Clubbed spider orchids)

Flowering – August to November

There are 6 Western Australian species

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

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


Caladenia falcata complex (Green spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early December

There are 9 Western Australian species

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

Caladenia attigens (Small mantis orchid) 13/09/2014

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

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


Caladenia hoffmanii complex (Hoffman’s spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early February

There are 4 Western Australian species

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

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

Caladenia brevisura (Short-sepaled spider orchid)

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

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

Caladenia cairnsiana (Zebra orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia pachychila (Dwarf zebra orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia barbarossa complex (Dragon orchids)

Flowering – August to mid November

There are 4 Western Australian species

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

Caladenia barbarossa (Common dragon orchid)


Caladenia hirta complex (Candy orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early November

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

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

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.

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


Caladenia latifolia complex (Fairy orchids, cowslip orchids)

Flowering – July to December

There are 4 Western Australian species

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

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

Caladenia flava subsp. maculata (Kalbarri cowslip orchid)

Caladenia latifolia (Pink fairies) 26/08/2017

Caladenia marginata (White fairy orchid)

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

Caladenia reptans subsp. impensa (Pale pink fairy)


Caladenia – mixed

Caladenia creba (Arrowsmith spider orchid)

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

Caladenia multiclavia (Lazy spider orchid)

Caladenia radialis (Drooping spider orchid) 19/9/2017

Caladenia wanosa (Kalbarri spider orchid)


Caladenia Hybrids

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

Caladenia flava x C. reptans

Caladenia flava x C. nana 23/09/2017


 

Boyatup – 1st visit of the 17/18 Season

30/7/2017

Mid morning we head off along Fisheries Road east to Boyatup. Our first point of call is a gravel pit just past where the bitumen runs out. After driving slowly in and checking the spot where we found Redbeaks last year, we come up empty, with nothing worthy found. So we head back to Boyatup Hill ( Mud Map SE 40 ) and head in on the track. First find is a Donkey Orchid which has something foreign stuck on it’s labellum, while his stem mate has his labellum nibbled off a bit. Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Further along the track Deb spots the first Spider orchid, so we park up and have a good look around. Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  is the only species I am certain of that is included in our finds, however they would all belong to the Filamentosa complex.

Profile comparison photos – Wispy spider orchids, unsure of exact species though.

Whilst I am on the ground taking photos Deb yells with excitement. She has found the first King Spider orchid of this season, in full flower. Only the one, but a great find. Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) 

Many more variations of Wispy spider orchids found so had to take more snaps

Further along the track we finally find some different orchids. Deb spots the first fully formed Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva). A sole snail orchid of unknown species is also found.

Then a patch of blue grabs our attention. A Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which appears to be double headed, however two very close stems prove this to be two individuals flowers.

This is how we get our photos. Very close to the subject. Wind and shadows can be tricky

The track is getting a bit overgrown so Deb parks the Triton up and whilst waiting for me, who is walking the track, she finds some Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta) . A bite to eat then we both set off on foot towards Boyatup Hill.

First finding is another Jug orchid which is nearly fully opened, followed by some more Mosquito orchids and then a Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata).

Further along more Jugs, Mosquitoes growing in the median strip of the track and Blue beards in a wet mossy area.

We then break out from woodlands into open health and find some more donkey orchids and a patch of snails Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva) again in the median strip of the track. Also a lone Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata) and some more Spider orchids are found.

We now keep trekking along and start skirting the hill looking for a way up as the rocks look very steep from this side. Unfortunately the track runs out so we bash our way through and scramble onto the rock only to be driven back by a bees nest. So we push around the base of the rock and cross over a vegetated gully, where we find some Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata),  to finally get on the rock.

After looking around the rock we make our way to the side where our bush track is and Deb finds a likely way down. No orchids were found on the rock which was disappointing however the views are amazing. We made the way down the rocks on our backsides as it was very steep and slippery. Safely on the ground we now bash through the bush and find the track back to the Triton. More photos of Spiders, Snails and Blue Beard orchids taken on the walk back along the track.

Arrived back at the Triton and had a cuppa then decided it was time to head home as it is getting on to 4pm. We get back onto Fisheries Rd and head west, when we decide to check out the track just before the line of pine trees. This  patch was shared with us by Deb Witt, a fellow orchid and nature lover. A short way in we pull over for a look but nothing grabs our attention. I decide to walk ahead whilst Deb continues her search on the opposite side of the track. Only found a few rosettes before I see a flower that looks orchid like so I check it out.. WooHoo it is a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea).

The further along we go the more we find, however some look at little different with longer sepals and colour variations. Hybrids??? It is now getting late so we turn around and on the way back we even find some Wispy Spider orchids. Then low and behold a solitary Donkey orchid. Being 5pm the light is fading fast so last photos taken with flash.

Boyatup Hill lives up to the reputation of my Mud Map reference book as we found:

Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’).

Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila)  

Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

Jug Orchid (Pterostylis recurva)

Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis)

Mosquito orchids (Cyrtostylis robusta)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata)

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata)

Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata)

Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea)

plus snail and wispy spider orchids which I was not confident to name and the possible Hybrid Dancing spider orchids.