30/04/2022 ….. Finally out exploring

Day Trip, Western Australian Orchids

Well, we finally get to go exploring on our first orchid hunt of this season. It has been a struggle finding the time, what with COVID isolation after a family centred Easter weekend, but we got there on the last day of April. Richard (our travel buddy) dropped in for the weekend, so he was seconded as driver for the day. First up of course we had a wonderful, cooked breakfast at the Esperance Bird and Animal Park.

Moving north up the Esperance Coolgardie Highway we make a stop at our Fleming Grove Road location, hoping the previously found orchids are again flowering. Deb moves ahead of us boys and confirms she has found the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus). These orchids flower from March till May over a range from Pinjarra to Esperance.

Also found in the same area were many Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata) which occur during March to June over a wide range, Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. Unlike the leafless orchid, these little guys have either one or two purple striped smooth green leaves.

There was also a solitary White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) surrounded by Hare and Leafless orchids. However, many more were found scattered around the wider location. These orchids also flower early, March to May, over a range between Dirk Hartog Island and Israelite Bay.

We then decided to move further east and check out the scrubland near the railway line. Well, we really only checked out the edge of the track, where we found another Leafless orchid and a White bunny orchid hiding underneath a prickle bush. Video taken of the Leafless orchid but not the White bunny. We also did a recognisance of the patch of scrub diagonally opposite our usual patch and this was a nice mix of scrub and regrowth so it may warrant another visit later in the season.

Deb has to work tonight, so we make tracks for home so she can relax before her shift. We also have our son’s birthday dinner to attend at 5pm. Finding our 3 usual suspects for today made the quick trip worth it and it was nice to get out in the fresh air for a change.

2021 Season opens in style

Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR, Western Australian Orchids

Our Sunday drive North of Esperance is successful in finding 5 of the early season orchids flowering in the Esperance shire.

First stop is Gibson where a new location turns up the Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) which flower from April, however it is usually slightly delayed this far east, so we were surprised to find some open.

Next up is our Fleming Grove Road location where we find 3 species. Firstly the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus) is found. We were amazed to find around 8 flowering in close proximity as we had previously only found isolated individuals.

Intermixed with the Leafless orchids were many Hare orchids (Leporella fimbriata). Again the numbers were high compared to previous discoveries.

Final orchid found at this location is a lone White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus). The stem leaf was very small so we were unable to tell if it had crinkled edges, so it may well be a Crinkled-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulatus). They have differing location specs: White bunny being coastal and Crinkled-leafed bunny mostly inland. As the location is only 30km inland it may be either, so please comment should the identification be apparent.

Final species of the day is the small Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis fuscoviridis), which we find at both Salmon Gums and Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve. Flowering during the months of April and May only, we feel lucky to have found some still in flower, as we found loads more already finished for the season.

Looks like it may be a bumper season, due to the early rains. To celebrate the successful day, we indulged in an ice-cream from Salmon Gums Roadhouse.

2020 – The season begins in March

Day Trip, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR


So have a guess where I went on the first official orchid hunt for the 2020 season? If you guessed Mud Map Ref: SE35 you are correct. Helms Arboretum is our so called “Rabbits foot” location and I was not let down entirely. Nothing in flower however White bunny orchids were in bud.


However only 3 days later they had bloomed. Deb was with me today, so we both got to see the first orchids in flower for the season. White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp.dilatatus) is found from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is March to May so it is one of the first orchids to flower in WA.


First up we checked out Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) where we were excited to find the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus). This orchid is the sole species in the genus and is endemic to Western Australia, where it is found between Pinjarra and Esperance during the months of March, April and May.

Leafless orchids may grow to 400mm in height

We then move further north and find some Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis fuscoviridis) in the Redlake townsite Nature Reserve. This orchid was originally named in 1883 and placed in the Prasophyllum genus however in 2002 it was moved to the Corunastylis genus. Then in 2018 it was re-named C. fuscoviridis as it was formally named C.tepperi, which is a species found in Victoria and South Australia. This is the sole West Australian species and is located from Corrigin to Eyre. It is also found in South Australia and Victoria, hence the naming issues.

Pygmy orchids may grow to 250mm in height but they are very difficult to spot in the leaf litter.

March proved to be the month when the Orchid season began in my local area. Four species are recorded as flowering during March around the Esperance area. We were lucky enough to find three of the four, with the Hare orchid the being the elusive species.

Solo search North

Day Trip, Nature Reserves, Red Lake Townsite NR, Road Trip, Speddingup East NR, Truslove North NR, Truslove Townsite NR


I get to go Orchid hunting by myself today, as Debbie is flying to Perth for an Awards night with her employer. After seeing Debbie off at the Esperance airport, I head north up the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy. My first point of call is Fleming Grove Road. This is the 2nd visit of the season to this location, with the first turning up nothing. Let’s hope today is more fruitful.

A little white flower catches my eye. A White bunny orchid is found however on closer inspection of the leaf it appears to be a Crinkle-leafed bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. undulates) which begin flowering in April over a large range from Northampton to east of Esperance and inland to Mt Jackson and Queen Victoria Rocks. This classification may be incorrect as one plant has 4 flowers and my references state they have up to 3. Also I don’t have a clear photo of the leaf due to surrounding vegetation. Other bunny orchids were found with less flowers which may confirm my classification.

Also found were some early Pterostylis genus orchids. Seems to be yet to fully open greenhood. Nothing more found so moving on to the next location.


Getting ready to emerge

Speddingup East Nature Reserve is that location. Driving slowly in first gear, I glance out the drivers window in a vain attempt at orchid spotting. Nothing seen at all so a bit despondently I turn around to head back to the road when I glance a gravelly track leading into the scrub. Why not give that a try, on foot this time, as it is very overgrown and too narrow, even for the Triton.

Nothing found here either, so I head into the scrub, for the walk back to the Triton. So glad I did, as there all by itself I find a perfect example of the Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus). This specimen stood 230mm in height and still looked fresh given they flower March to May. They range between Pinjarra and Esperance growing in sandy soils in scrublands and woodlands.

Feeling so much better now, I head off for Truslove North Nature Reserve. Turning just past the School site I slowly drive but find nothing. Parking up for a bite to eat, I call up Deb to find she had just arrived at her hotel. After a chat I go for a walk into the scrub, however do not find anything, so move onto the next locality.

Passing through Grass Patch to my destination of Red Lake Townsite Nature Reserve, where I enter at the school site. Again I slowly drive through looking out my window, with no luck at spying any orchids. So I get out and wander around on foot, which still brings up nada.

OK, so today is not proving very successful, however I continue on my trip further north, with my next stop at Salmon Gums. A little disheartened, I sit in the Triton listening to the final quarter of the Collingwood v Carlton AFL match. After some heart stopping moments Collingwood win, which improves my mood, so I move on to our spot for orchid hunting.

This spot was proving orchid-less as well, when on my way back to the Triton, walking along the side of the road ditch I see a little orchid, all by itself. Finally found a Pygmy orchid (Corunastylis tepperi) in flower after only finding spent ones in previous years. Only the very top of the inflorescence though is still open with the majority finished for the season. These little guys flower April and May only, from Corrigin to Eyre.

So lucky to have found the one and only Pygmy orchid as he proves to be the last orchid I find today. On the way back home, I call into Circle Valley, Grass Patch arboretum, Truslove Townsite Nature Reserve and Scaddan, which all prove to be void of orchids. Well at least I didn’t find any.

Oh well, it was a nice day out but only 3 species found. 2 were single specimens, so I was very lucky to have found them. Pterostylis orchids are starting up, so the season moves on. Such a dry start is making the hunt harder this year so far, so we can only see how it pans out going forward.

Leafless Orchid rediscovered

Esperance, Helms Arboretum


What better way to start the day than with brunch out at the Esperance Bird and Animal Farm. We are joined today by our good friends Bob and Jan, who are heading off on a Aussie Adventure of their own in a few weeks.  

We make our way to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) and have a quick scout of the first track to the right. Seems very dry and nothing was found, so we lead the way to the spot we found Bunny orchid buds last visit. 

We are not disappointed. The White bunny orchid (Eriochilus dilatatus subsp. dilatatus) is found flowering all over this location. These are one of the earliest flowering orchids starting in late March thru to May in a coastal range from Dirk Hartog Island to Israelite Bay.

We look further afield but do not find anything else in flower. After saying our goodbyes to Bob and Jan we make our way to the area we had previously found Hare orchids. Not even a leaf is found so we decide to take some tracks we rarely venture on just on the off-chance we stumble across anything. 

Nothing, located when just before we reach the main track out of the park, I spy a Leafless orchid (Praecoxanthus aphyllus) growing at the base of a tree. Excitedly I jump out of the Triton to grab a photo. Deb scours around the nearby area but no further specimens are found.  The Leafless orchid flowers March to May as well but in a smaller area than the White bunny orchid. The range is from Pinjarra to Esperance  growing in sandy soils in shrublands and woodlands.

More White bunny orchids however were found so I just had to get a few more photos.

So happy to have found the Leafless orchid again after having two years where we searched and searched but found none. 2019 is starting off great.