10/10/2021 ….. Yealering to Newdegate

Malyalling NR, Nature Reserves, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

So, we awake in Yealering on the Sunday after enjoying the Regatta on the lake the previous day. We are in the local caravan park with friends Sandy, Noel and Richard. After breakfast we all pack up our respective campers and make our separate way home. For us this will be an excuse to go orchid hunting. Fancy that!!!

I do not have a record in my little black book, and I am writing this record more than 12mths after the fact, so my memory fails me. So, this record will record locations and finds only, with no commentary, which some may find refreshing.


Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

200 – 400mm in height

Flowers – Late Aug to Oct

Location – Wongan Hills to Jerramungup

Granite sun orchid

(Thelymitra petrophila)

100 – 350mm in height

Flowers – Aug to Nov

Location – Mullewa to South Australia

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

150 – 350mm in height

Flowers – Late July – Sept

Location – Moora to Albany

Elbow orchid

(Spiculaea ciliata)

100-180mm in height

Flowers – Oct to Jan

Location – Kalbarri to Grasspatch

EIGHTY SIX GATE ROAD – UNNAMED NATURE RESERVE

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

60 – 200mm in height

Flowers – Jul to Oct

Location – Shark Bay to Eyre

Granite sun orchid

(Thelymitra petrophila)

Leaf – Narrow, 4-6mm in width

Colour – Blue, purple or pink

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

100 – 250mm in height

Flowers – Jul to early Dec

Location – Geraldton to Israelite Bay

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Another common name – Fringed mantis orchid

Leaf – Single, erect, hairy leaf 100-200mm in length

Elbow orchid

(Spiculatea ciliata)

Habitat – In the north sandy soils over sandstone, In the south soil pockets on granite

Leaf – Fleshy, green and red infused leaf, which is shriveled at time of flowering

Blue china orchid

(Cyanicula gemmata)

40 – 150mm in height

Flowers – Aug to early Nov

Location – Kalbarri and Israelite Bay

Harrismith / Dudinin area

Granite sun orchid

(Thelymitra petrophila)

Neendaling

Green spider orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Shy sun orchid

(Thelymitra graminea)

150 – 350mm in height

Flowers – Oct to Nov

Location – Perth to Esperance

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Common mignonette orchid

(Microtis media subsp. media)

Newdegate

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

170 – 350mm in height

Flowers – Aug to early Oct

Location – Jerramungup to Israelite Bay

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

You can tell we are moving into the last few months of the Western Australian orchid season as we only located 9 species over multiple inland locations. The Southwest corner has a much longer season than both the inland and Southeastern areas.

30/09/2021 ….. RDO romp out East

Beaumont NR, Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Western Australian Orchids

Well, what else do you do on a RDO in spring but go Orchid Hunting. Today we head out east of Esperance in the hope of finding some different species to those found around the lakes and at Helms Arboretum last weekend.

First up we head past Condingup and head north up Parmango Road. At our usual location we slowly drive in, hanging out the windows looking for orchids, then park up and head further in on foot.

At the clearing where we park up, we are surprised to find the beautiful Custard orchid (Thelymitra villosa). This striking orchid flowers during the spring months, over a large range from Northampton to Israelite Bay. It is known to have up to 20 flowers per plant.

Located very close by is the glistening Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis). This sun loving orchid flowers from August to early November over a similar range, Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Time to head off on foot as you do find more orchids this way. Backtracking toward Parmango Road first though as Deb spied a bird orchid on the drive in. Only one specimen found and appears to be the Bearded bird orchid (Pterostylis turfosa) as the species named Esperance bird orchid was included as an eastern variety of P. turfosa.

Also found here was a smaller yellow orchid. The Bee orchid (Diuris laxiflora) also flowers during the spring months, though only flowers as far northwest as Gingin from Esperance.

Finally, we head west along the track. A single, solitary Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) is found. No others were found along this track today. The prominently clubbed sepals allowed me to ID it, as the similarly located and similarly featured Heberle’s spider orchid causes no end of confusion, when trying to ID these king type spider orchids.

Another small yellow orchid catches our eye. The tiny Twisted sun orchid (Thelymitra flexuosa), is so named due to a distinctive zig-zagged flower stem. The flowers themselves are listed as being 12 – 15mm across which is smaller than a 5c piece. We have only found this species a couple times before, so this is an exciting find.

Amazingly the next orchid is also yellow in colour. The more common Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera) which is so named due to the antennae like structures to the column. These orchids flower as far north as Shark Bay from Israelite Bay to our east.

Finally, an orchid that is not yellow in colour. The striking Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media subsp.media) can stand up to 600mm in height and can have up to 100 yellowish-green flowers per plant. Each flower is miniscule being only 2-3mm across.

The surprise find for the day was a solitary hammer orchid, which is well and truly fertilised and slowly shriveling up. The only recorded hammer orchid in the Shire of Esperance is the King-in-his-carriage (Drakaea glyptodon). The distinctly pouched labellum is not apparent, though it may have just shrivelled away.

Another single specimen found. Hiding in a bush the Shy sun orchid (Thelymitra graminea) is living up to its common name. There are four visually similar blue sun orchids flowering in the Esperance district so my identification may be incorrect, so please feel free to enlighten me.

Next up is an orchid that apparently smells bad. As they are so small and close to the ground, I have never put that to the sniff. The White fairy orchid (Caladenia marginata) is an orchid that is stimulated by fire and is usually found around granite outcrops. That is the case for our nearby Cape Le Grand rock location, however no visible granite at this location.

Another sun orchid is found in the old damp gravel pit area, however due to the deep cleft in the mid-lobe of the column I believe it to be the Slender sun orchid (Thelymitra vulgaris). They are one of the weird self-pollinating orchids, as are the Twisted sun orchids.

Next up is a mutated orchid I believe. It appears to be a Lemon-scented sun orchid however it does not have a normal looking column. I would love to have your thoughts on this unusual specimen.

Another amazing orchid is found poking up through the undergrowth. Rattle beaks (Lyperanthus serratus) in its dull green and maroon colourings is a beautiful orchid. They may have up to 10 flowers per plant and can reach heights of 500mm. They have a distinctive leaf which we regularly find prior to the flowering season but feel blessed when we find one flowering.

In the gravelly or rocky wet area, we were staggered to find the Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans). We had previously found this orchid at Thomas River and Dempster Head which are in listed habitat of near coastal granite. We are around 25kms from the coast with no apparent granite so did not expect to find these orchids here. Actually, we have also found them at Boyatup which is a similar distance inland but also has granite everywhere.

Further orchids were found but not great photos taken so will record them here and put up the best photo I have of them. Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) in a nice bright red form. Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) in washed out colours plus the Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) with its beautiful red lined sepals and petals.

Well, this track walked along proved a great spot with many species found. We can’t linger at one place too long so back to the Triton we trudge and onward to our next location.

We pull into Beaumont Nature Reserve which is little further north along Parmango Road. Here we again make our way on foot as the track is too tight and will scratch the crap out of the Triton. It is not long before we find our first orchid. Interestingly it is another Rattle Beaks, closely followed by more Zebra orchids and Bee orchids

Walking further along the track we find other previously found orchids. This time another Purple enamel orchid appears shining in some brief sunlight, further Common mignonette orchids stand tall and yellow Lemon-scented sun orchids are visible against the drying foliage.

Next up the blue sun orchids start to appear in numbers. From the thin leaf I believe they are further Shy sun orchids and another Slender sun orchid is found, with its deeply clefted column mid lobe. Maybe we will find something new here the further we venture in.

And guess what? We did find something new for the day. From what I can tell this spider orchid appears to be a Hybrid but could also just be a pale coloured Esperance king spider. What are your thoughts?

Another yellow orchid is found, and it is amazing it has taken this long to find the very widespread common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). These orchids vary greatly in the brightness of their yellow and the patterns of their markings.

The next orchid found is confusing as the location would lead the ID to be the Short sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura), however a lack of clubbing to the lateral sepals seems to indicate the Ant orchid (C. roei) may be the correct ID, but these orchids only go as far East as Ravensthorpe. However, my iNaturalist record has confirmed the first choice.

A new colour for the day appears in the undergrowth. The Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is an unexpected find. They are however listed as occurring as far east as Israelite Bay, so should not be a surprise. The pink colouration is varied from very pale pink, almost white to vivid pink.

Talking about a splash of yellow. We have finally reached the granite area with a stream running through it and there is a good number of orchids flowering here. A standout is a great clump of the Elegant donkey orchid (Diuris concinna) which is bright yellow with some small brown markings. This is the best bunch I’ve ever seen.

Flowering nearby was the closely related Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa) which is known to grow on shallow soil on granite outcrops. They were found in large numbers the more we ventured.

As pictured above with the bee orchids was the small Swamp mignonette orchid (Microtis atrata) which as the name suggests are found in seasonally wet flats and run-off areas around granite outcrops. They are only 40 to 80mm in height.

Other orchids were found growing on the shallow soil surrounding the granite, including Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) and Lemon-scented sun orchids. Rabbit orchids have ear-like petals that provide the common name and very forward projecting lateral sepals.

Plus of course granite loving orchids are also found. The Granite sun orchid (Thelymitra petrophila) is an inland occurring orchid that flowers from August to November, however, the Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) is also recorded as being found on inland granite outcrops northeast of Esperance and flowers during August and September. I think we have found both as the Coastal sun orchid is said to have a fleshy flower stem and the photos do seem to show one with a thicker stem.

Other orchids found in the woodlands and on the granite were more Common mignonette orchids and Shy sun orchids.

The most exciting find at this location was the hybrid of the Lemon-scented sun orchid and one of the blue sun orchids. This hybrid is a wonderful pinkish tone with bright yellow antennae. (Thelymitra x)

What a great location this has turned out to be, however, we decide to move on. Next stop is Condingup Hill. (Mud Map SE39) We had barely turned off Fisheries Road when the first orchids are seen. The common Purple enamel orchid comes in first place for this location, closely followed by the small Twisted sun orchid.

Next up a king type spider orchid is found. However, I have no idea if it is an Esperance king, Heberle’s or a hybrid. Both the aforementioned species have spreading petals/sepals and with this specimen they are hanging. They appear to be clubbed and particularly thin when compared to the large labellum. Ideas on ID welcome.

Higher up the track at the swampy flat area we find some more Swamp mignonette orchids and a Lemon-scented sun orchid.

At the corner, underneath a bush we are happy to find the Bearded bird orchid in flower. Actually, there is more than one in flower which is great.

We choose not the check out the lookout or Telstra tower area, so we drive back down and look along Fisheries Road just before the Condingup townsite sign. As expected, we locate some Esperance white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) growing in the swampy ground.

The only other orchids found flowering here were some Purple enamel orchids. So, we grab some quick snaps then jump back into the Triton and head west.

We turn into Ridgelands Road and head north. Stopping at a patch of non-farmland we venture down into what appears to be an area leading to a swamp/lake. The ground is covered in dry leaf litter but growing here and there are some tall sun orchids. Most likely Shy sun orchids again due to location and thickness of the leaf.

Moving to the other side of the road, it is apparent the vegetation is different and straight away we find some Esperance white spider orchids.

Another, Caladenia species found which occurs between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay is the Short sepaled spider orchid. This small spider orchid is distinguished by its south easterly location and short sepal tips which are clubbed. At least these ones have clubs unlike the one found earlier today. There colouring varies considerably from dark red to light green.

Other orchids found include the ever-reliable Cowslip orchid, more Purple enamel orchids, a patch of Elegant donkey orchids and the Common mignonette orchid.

After 4pm, so time to make tracks home. At least 27 orchid species found with a hybrid or 2 thrown in. One last picture to post of a herd of Zebras coz I like it. No other reason!!

09/09/2021 ….. Stirling Range National Park and surrounds

Formby NR, Mabinup Creek NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Stirling Range NP, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold , wet and miserable day, but we won’t let that stop us from going exploring for orchids. Finally the rain stops, so after a bite of lunch, we head up to the Bluff Knoll lookout however the actual mountain is nearly covered in clouds. The feature picture show some of the amazing metal artwork installed there. Some close-up images are included here for your appreciation.

Bluff Knoll hidden in cloud

So now is the time to commence our exploration of the area. We have a very quick scout around the lookout and parking area, where we see a few orchids. However on the drive into the lookout we saw some possible spots to check out along the roadside. So it is at these couple of stops, in between showers, that we locate the following orchids.

It’s now past 2.30pm so we only have a few hours of daylight left to explore, so we will keep close to our base. Therefore we make tracks north of the National Park, to visit the nearby Formby Nature Reserve, which weirdly is still signposted as the Mabinup Creek Nature Reserve. The northern boundary of the park is found to be very weedy and the creek is overflowing, which does not thrill us too much. So we head back down Formby Road South and venture in on the eastern boundary. Next time we need to pack wellington boots as the place is flooded, but we venture in nonetheless, after applying insect repellent, as the mozzies may become troublesome. This place proves to be covered in orchids in large numbers and many species, which is amazing to us. Refer the following images of the orchids found.

I just had to pop in some photos to show how many orchids were at this location as well as the ones we found swimming.

It is now after 4.30 so we head back toward our base at the Stirling Range Retreat, but as per usual we make one more stop. We pull off the road before the Mount Trio turn-off and head down this gravel track. This is a new location for us in the park and it proves to be quite fruitful. Our quick stop though runs into another hour. Luckily the rain holds off. Here is what we found.

With the light running out fast we do a u-turn, head back to Formsby Road South and make tracks for our little cabin. What an amazing afternoon of orchid hunting we have had today, especially given the cold and wet morning we awoke to. I think we found 23 species and at least 3 hybrids which is mind blowing but this National Park and it’s surrounding are like an oasis in the middle of cleared land for agriculture.

02/09/2021 ….. Koorda to Northam

Cartamulligan Well NR, Moonijin NR, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After enjoying a very basic continental breakfast at the Koorda hotel we make our way along the Dowerin – Koorda Road, as we have not recorded driving this way before. We love breaking new ground so to speak, as this opens up our search area for orchids. With this in mind our first location visited is the Booralaming Sports Centre, a random piece of uncleared land chosen from Google Maps, whilst driving along. After checking out the old play equipment and abandoned tennis pavilion we get stuck into looking for orchids.

First orchid found was a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis setulosa), which is not a great specimen. Photo taken just to record the finding. Next up we find another orchid in better numbers. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is a common inland orchid which is a monotypic genus, endemic to WA.

A donkey orchid is then found with a huge clump found later on back near the pavilion. From the location and the following features: reflexed lateral sepals, broad rounded petals, and broad dorsal sepal, I am calling these Mottled donkey orchids (Diuris suffusa).

Next up is a wonderful trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which have a broad smooth labellum with a central band of calli. The more south the location the longer the band of calli. Refer the post from the 01/09/2021 for an image of a northern form.

Then a nice surprise, some spider orchids are found. The yellow coloured ones I believe to be the Primrose spider orchid (Caladenia xantha) which flower until early September which explains the spent specimen found. The colouring ranges from pale to vivid yellow, which includes the labellum. EDIT: hugo_innes suggested an ID in iNaturalist Australia that they may be Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) due to the north/east location.

White coloured spider orchids also present and I thought they are probably the Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians), however after posting to a Facebook page a knowledgeable person advised they thought they were the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens), due to the broad labellum, which is usually small in most other white wispy styled orchids.

We did get distracted with a large rubbish dump which gave us reason to scavenge, however we finally made our way back to the Triton’s and moved on westwards. Our next stop was at Moonijin Nature Reserve. We parked up near a creek depression and went exploring. First orchid found was the small Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which is by far the most widespread of these little orchids of the P. gracile complex.

Next up a beautiful spider orchid is found. A single specimen firstly, then an amazing clump of flowers. The Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) can be either yellow, cream or pink-red in colour so they can easily be confused with other similar species from the C. filamentosa complex.

After finding the clump of spider orchids, it was nice to find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) which range from very pale pink to vivid pink in colour. They always have bright pink calli on the labellum, unless you are lucky enough to find a lutea form. The white form found could actually be the related Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) as they do overlap in distribution, but maybe not this far inland.

Then another colour grabs our eyes. A donkey orchid is found which is probably the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) due to the broad, reflexed dorsal sepal, reflexed lateral sepals and of course the location.

Also found were more Ant orchids, so after taking some more photos we move onwards to our next stop.

We stop off in Dowerin and grab some lunch at the Dowerin Bakery, before moving on to an unnamed Nature Reserve on Berring-Nambling Road, south-west of town. First up we find more Pink candy orchids and other ones that seem to be Candy orchids, as they are larger and white in colour.

Woohoo, another new orchid for the day. The Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) has a distinctive look, which the common name suggests. Even the dorsal sepal in usually drooping. A clumping spider orchid, we are lucky to find some great clumps as well. These orchids are a common inland species found from Northampton to Jerramungup, during the months August through October.

Then some bright yellow catches our eye. The cheerful Cowslip orchid is found and from the markings it appears to be the Brookton Highway cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. “late red“) which is also identified by the leaf being regularly longer than the flower scape. However we are around 80kms north of the recorded distribution and they flower from late September, so these may just be the standard cowslip (C. flava subsp. flava) which vary greatly in size and colouring.

It’s now past 2pm so we had better keep moving. We pass through Goomalling and head toward Northam. We make one last stop at Cartamulligan Well Nature Reserve which has Southern Brook running through the middle. We turn off Watson road into a gravelled area and go exploring. It is quite weedy so unsure how successful we will be with finding many orchids.

Surprisingly, the first orchid discovered is the Candy orchid or maybe its the Pink candy orchid. As mentioned previously their distributions overlap and subsp. rosea can be very pale pink in colour, even appearing white, so identification can be difficult. Let me know your thoughts on the ID for these ones.

Definite Pink candy orchids are found later on and these are pics of some of them.

Excitedly we find a new species for the day. This orchid is common but we still get excited when something new is found on any given day. The Blue beard or Blue fairy orchid (Pheladenia deformis) is the only species in the genus Pheladenia. Given it’s common name, it is interesting to note that they do come in a white variety, though these are rare.

The last orchid to be recorded for today is also the first one found, back at the Booralaming Sports Centre. You guessed it, the Hairy-stemmed snail orchid, which again is a common orchid, although restricted to inland areas. Unlike this morning though, they are found in numbers at this location.

Just before 4pm we make tracks for Northam, our planned overnight stop. We are being soft tonight and book a motel room at the Dukes Inn. Here we enjoy a beautiful meal and comfy beds. At least 13 species found today, which is awesome.

20/08/2020 ….. Quajabin Peak to Pingeculling Nature Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Pingeculling NR, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a night listening the nearby sheep bleating all night we awake to another beautiful sunny morning. We now take the time to explore the area below our camp for orchids.

Quajabin (County) Peak

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Leaving Quajabin (County) Peak we head south to Yenyening Lakes. We hoped to explore the Nature Reserve however it seems to only cover the actual lakes themselves. A little bit along Qualandary Road just over the Avon River bridge we pull over to check out the roadside vegetation.

Yenyening Lakes

Purple-veined spider orchid, Purple-veined clown orchid

(Caladenia doutchiae)

Puppet orchid

(Caladenia incrassata)

Dancing spider orchid

(Caladenia discoidea)

Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Green spider orchid, Fringed mantis orchid

(Caladenia falcata)

Leaving the Yenyening lakes we head further along Qualandary Road. At the intersection with Boyagarra Road we pull into a gravel pit. Here we explore the vegetation for any orchids that may flower in this small island of nature in the middle of farmland.

Boyagarra Road

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

>>>> donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

It is now past 12 o’clock so we move on. looking for another location where we can have some lunch whilst exploring for orchids. We by-pass Brookton by heading south down Moorumbine Road. at another gravel pit in the middle of a bush block will pull up. Whilst eating lunch we explore the surrounding vegetation for orchids. We come across an old rubbish dump site and find some amazing old bottles.

Moorumbine Road

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargnetii)

Small flowered donkey orchid

(Diuris porrifolia)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

After storing away our old bottles, we move into the Pingeculling Nature Reserve. We follow the track up a steep gravely slope then along bush tracks past sheoks and granite boulders. We then come across a fallen tree over the track. I get to use my Ryobi Chainsaw for it’s first real test. We then pull up on the track near a flat piece of granite and set up camp.

Pingeculling Nature Reserve

Little pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Banded greenhood

(Pterostylis vittata)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Lemon-scented sun orchid

(Thelymitra antennifera)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Primrose spider orchid

(Caladenia xantha)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Caladenia sp.

It is now nearly 4pm so we make tracks back to the camper and light the camp fire to get ready for dinner. I study the orchid books to uncover what we had found today. A fabulous day with so many orchids found.

13/08/2020 ….. Elachbutting Rock to Weira Reserve (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Other Reserves, Road Trip, Sandford Rocks NR, Weira Reserve, Western Australian Orchids, Westonia Common

We awake to a beautiful sunny day, have a leisurely breakfast and finally break camp around 10am. Before leaving Elachbutting Rock we check out the stone lined well.

Heading south we pass Yanneymooning Nature Reserve, not stopping this time, then turned east onto Morrison Road, which takes us through Chiddarcooping Nature Reserve. Further south we finally reach Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve which is Site 16 on the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. We stop at the north eastern section of the reserve and have a look around finding some orchids before moving down to the actual visitors area of the park. It is a great walk around the rock where we find a good selection of orchids.

Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

Jug orchid, Recurved shell orchid, Bull orchid, Antelope orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Frog greenhood

(Pterostylis sargentii)

Ironcaps spider orchid, Mystery spider orchid