Last Hoorah of our Holidays


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  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.

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


Sunday search of Helms Arboretum


Sunday morning fishing planned, however after a sleep-in we decide to head out to Helm’s Arboretum to check on the orchids instead. Our Southern Curly Locks is still yet to bloom so we resign ourselves to the fact we will miss it this season as we head out on our 3 week road trip in 3 days.

Next we check out the location we find our Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) and we were rewarded with both regular blue and some rarer white flowers.

In the adjoining plot I came across a first for me. A Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) which flowers August to September and ranges from Mt Manypeaks to Israelite Bay. I thought is was a Green spider orchid however on checking my Orchid books it proved to be a Hoffman spider orchid due to the prominently clubbed sepals and petals plus the long thin fringe segments on the labellum.

Also in the same plot we located some Snail orchids and King spider orchids. I will go out on a limb and name the snail orchid as Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) as they are found between Stirling Ranges and Esperance and flower August to September. The spider orchid is our local Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora).

Moving along to another plot we locate some White spider orchids. I believe there are two subspecies of the Caladenia longicauda species found. First being the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which has short spreading petals and lateral sepals, flowers August to early September and ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid National Park. Second being the Southern white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora) which has long pendulous petals and lateral sepals, flowers September to October and is found Millar’s Point to Fitzgerald River National Park. Slightly east of recorded location however it is the only White spider orchid that comes close to Esperance with long pendulous petals and sepals. The “Florabase” record 15359 includes the Esperance Local Government boundary and Esperance Plains region in it’s lists of locations, so I am confident with my classification.


We move onto another known location to find our little Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we were not disappointed. These little fellows are found between Esperance and Lancelin and flower August to early November.

Close by the Zebra orchids were Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) which are distinguished from their big brother by their petals and sepals not clasping the ovary. They still hang but do not clasp the stem.

Another find nearby was a very white White spider orchid. Unable to ID this one but it was big and beautiful.

Next we move to the snail hood plot to see what is still flowering. Our first find were some more Western tiny blue orchids and then we find the snail hood. Snail orchids of unknown identity due to wrinkled leaves.

Our last stop of the day was near the entrance to the reserve and we find the good old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). As usual Helm’s Arboretum didn’t let us down.

Cowslip orchids
Close neighbours

Gibson to Myrup

19/8/2017  On a tip from our friend Deb Witt we are heading north of Gibson to check out what lies within 50km of home.  However first we have our standard fully cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird & Animal Park and then our obligatory check of Helms Arboretum.  Just past the large green log sign at the entrance we find some Esperance King spider orchids (Caladenia decora) of various colours.

We also checked out our Curly Locks but it still has a way to go before flowering. Fingers crossed it is still there when we return from our September holidays.

Turning east from the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy we park opposite a patch of scrub with a small lake. Just off the road where we parked Deb spots the first orchid of the day. Donkey orchids are found everywhere on the North roadside verge. Unable to verify exact species as the location does not match any in the books. Possible two different types found as one is duller yellow with hanging sepals and the other is brighter yellow with re-curved and crossed sepals.

We cross the road to the lake side and start looking around when Deb calls me over as she has found a Hare orchid (Leporella fimbriata). This distraction nearly had me  walking into a huge Golden orb spider (Nephila edulis). The poor old Hare orchid was well and truly finished for the season.

More searching and we turn up more Donkey orchids and the first Red beaks (Pyrorchis nigricans) sprouting from the many leaves spotted. In fact there were so many Red beak and Hare orchid leaves around you sometimes could not help stepping on them.

The first Pterostylis orchids of the day were also found. Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) and Jug orchid , plus of course some more Donkey orchids.

Looking under a tallish shrub I notice a patch of Banded greenhoods so make my way under to get a photo. Telling Deb of my find I glance down and there is this very small white coloured orchid. It happened to be a small Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) which was partially opened. I grabbed some photos and then moved over to take some Banded greenhood photos whilst Deb took some of the Sugar orchid. This little orchid actually fully opened over a period of a few minutes so my next shots were of it fully open.

Pic below is of the Banded Greenwood I mentioned above that lead me to the sugar orchid.

We then made our way back to the Triton and moved further West and turned North along the railway line. We parked up and had a bite to eat before venturing out for another hunt. Deb spied another Sugar orchid and I took a photo of the habitat it was found in and what we get up to taking these photos.

Another Red beak sprouting, lone Snail orchid and Dancing spider (Caladenia discoidea) are found in this area, before we head over the railway line.

Immediately we find what we thought was another sugar orchid, however on returning home and checking the photos on our computer we notice it is in fact a Western tiny blue orchid (Cyanicula aperta). These are found August to early October from Dumbleyung to Mount Ragged. We now laugh that we were so blinded to the fact they were two very different orchids, just both so small, so just appeared to be variants in colour only.

This side of the railway line proved very fruitful with many orchids found. Brittle snail orchids (Pterostylis timothyi), more Western tiny blue orchids, more Redbeaks emerging,  further Dancing orchids and even more Donkey orchids.

Time to head south so we make tracks west until a road heading south is found. At a place where the road had been straightened we take the old track and stop for lunch. Deb spies two Dancing spider orchids and finally a Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) fully opened.  I locate some more Donkey orchids then on the other side of this small triangular piece of bush I find some beautiful Esperance king spider orchids. More Donkey orchids found then onward further south.

We stop as the track turns east to a farmers paddock and check around as we can see more Donkey orchids from the Triton. After looking around only Donkeys found here.

The track itself does head straight ahead it just reduces in size and standard. Very weedy now so we cross over the creek at a granite ford. A little further along a small patch opens up to the right, so we decide to check it out.  A little patch of yellow catches Deb’s eye and she calls me over as she has found a season first Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which flowers from August to November and is found from North of Perth to East of Esperance.

We finally make it back to the road and head south stopping a few more times but only finding a single Cowslip orchid.

At the intersection we make a final stop and cross the road to have on more search for anything. Deb calls me over as she finds some Esperance King spider orchids. Now the word some is a little bit understated … There are so many it is impossible to count them.

Also found in numerous clusters were Wispy spider orchids. Unsure of the exact type though.

Some single specimens were also found but I will not attempt to name the exact types of these either.

This final location ended an awesome day with new finds and so many orchids in one place… Nature is grand alright !!!

Boyatup – 1st visit of the 17/18 Season


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.