11/08/2020 ….. Koorda to Billiburning Rock(Road Trip 2020)

Billiburning Reserve, Koorda Native Flora Reserve, Road Trip, Western Australian Orchids

After a wonderful sleep and hearty breakfast at the Koorda Hotel it is time to head off to Site 7 of the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. Koorda Native Flora Reserve has 3 walk trails. We tackle the Yellow Walk Trail. The other 2 will have to wait a return visit.

Koorda Native Flora Reserve

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)



Next stop was Site 8 – Gabbin Townsite where we completed the Town walk trail. Very interesting history. We then moved onto Bencubbin to fuel up, then headed to Beacon, bypassing Sites 9 (Marshall Rock) and 10 (Pergande Sheep Yards) as we had all visited them on a previous Road Trip. Interesting little installation with a Honey theme discovered on Ingleton road in Tampu. (Refer Featured Image)



Billiburning Rock

Site 11 of the Wheatbelt Way Drive Trail. We arrived around 1pm and made the decision to stay here for the night. After setting up camp and having a bite to eat for lunch, we set off on a wander around and onto the rock to see what we could see.

Dainty blue orchid

(Cyanicula amplexans)



Blue beard, Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Little laughing leek orchid

(Prasophyllum gracile)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Glistening spider orchid

(Caladenia incensum)

Ant orchid, Clown orchid, Man orchid, Jack-in-the Box

(Caladenia roei)

“Rufous greenhood complex” orchid

(Pterostylis sp.)

Well this location proved to be an awesome spot for orchids given the previous poor showings so far this trip. 8 species in total today so we settled in for a fun night around the campfire to celebrate.

27/09/2020 ….. Peak Charles Long Weekend – Day 3

National Parks, Peak Charles NP, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Well after a wet night we awake to a fine, cloudy day with white fast moving clouds covering the peak of Peak Charles. An amazing sight it is!!

After breakfast we jump in the Triton and head off south towards nearby Peak Elenore, where we plan to explore for orchids. Driving along the track southwards we come across a track leading west back towards the rocks so Deb decides to check it out. We come across someone camping so nearly just turned back but luckily I noticed we could bypass a fallen tree and get closer to the rocks. Pulling up alongside we venture into the rocky slope which is quite well vegetated and is still quite green. Might be due to being on the lee side of the hill.

Almost immediately green spider orchids are found. Two subspecies of Calendenia attingens are found in this area. They are very similar orchids with the main distinguishing feature being the lateral sepals. Small mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima) has upswept lateral sepals and the Granite mantis orchid (Caladenia attingens subsp. effusa) has barely upswept lateral sepals, plus the lamina calli of the Small mantis orchid extend further onto the red apex than other species, which assists with identification, however is still proves difficult.

In the midst of so many mantis orchids a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) is found. These orchids flower July to early October over an easterly range from Kondinin to Madura. They can be found growing around granite outcrops. Other specimens were found later on in the search of this location.

Another spider orchid is found which is proving more difficult to identify. The labellum has very dark distinct red lines and the petals and sepals are quite narrow. I will be naming these orchids the Ironcaps spider orchid (Caladenia paradoxa) which can be found on granite outcrops and is said to intergrade with C. microchila at the eastern extent of it’s distribution (Wubin to Norseman). Please correct me if I’m wrong as the distribution listed does not include Peak Charles specifically.

A rufous greenhood type orchid is the next found. Various specimens are found scattered around and they differ in colour, lateral sepals positions and general aspect. Naming these orchids is proving very difficult. The specimens with long thin apically upcurved lateral sepals could be the Striped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis zebrina) which is recorded as being found between Mt Ridley to Merredin growing on or near granite outcrops.

There is a brown coloured greenhood with much shorter lateral sepals that are quite hairy looking and quite square at the top rather than being rounded. Based on this I’ll name this specimen the Straight-topped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis sp. “straight tops”) which is located between the Murchison River and Peak Charles, our current location. However this orchid is not listed in the latest reference book so please correct me if you believe I am incorrect.

Many other rufous greenhoods were found and naming them is just too difficult, so I’m just uploading some pictures with the hope that someone can provide some guidance.

An unexpected find was the Sigmoid spider orchid (Caladenia sigmoidea). For very small orchids they are quite distinct with red and cream colourings and of course the ‘S’ shaped apex to the labellum, from which it derives it’s name.

Moving on, we head south towards Peak Elenore. We don’t go far before a change in vegetation makes up stop to have a look around. First up is a rufous greenhood orchid just budding up. Then further along another lone orchid is found, however this one is in full flower. Due to the long thin sepals this orchid could be a Slender rufous greenhood (Pterostylis macrosceles). It is recorded as growing between Goomalling and Queen Victoria Rocks, which is someway North of our current location, however Florabase records it as being in the Esperance shire, so I am happy with my ID.

After 30mins of searching, nothing else is found, so we move on. This time we stop in a white sandy patch to see if anything different can be found. After a few minutes with nothing found we move on and get to the Salmon Gum patch, where we were originally going to camp after finding the camping ground full. So happy we are camping where we are as this place is rather dry and barren. However there are orchids here. First up is the Insect-lipped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis insectifera) which is located between Karroun Hill, Ravensthorpe and Norseman. An exerted labellum and down-curved lateral sepals are distinctive features.

Another orchid found could very well be the Elegant rufous greenhood (Pterostylis elegantissima) due to the wide-spaced flowers and laterally-splayed lateral sepals. The labellum is almost blackish, dark green. Unfortunately, one of my specimens two flowers has a green labellum, which disagrees with my ID. However the orchids occur in locations between Goomalling and Salmon Gums, which concurs with my ID. Another case of ID confusion!

As it’s now 12.30ish we decide to give Peak Elenore a miss and head back to camp to grab a bite of lunch. After lunch the 2 Deb’s have a rest so I head off looking for a way up onto the rock. It is way too steep close to camp so I follow the base for quite a while. At one point I stumble across a small spider orchid growing a the base of the granite. Struggled to get some good photos but they are posted below just for recording purposes. By the off white colouring I believe it to be a Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) which is found from Kalbarri to Esperance flowering from July till mid-October.

Nearby other rufous greenhoods were found. I think some are more Striped rufous greenhoods and one with cupped lateral sepals I am unsure of.

Not finding much else I decide to leave the rock s and head into the surrounding woodland/scrub to see if anything different is found. First up only more rufous greenhoods are found then by chance a small patch of Shy greenhoods (Pterostylis allantoidea) are found. The little guys belong to the snail orchid complex and flower in the area bordered by Ravensthorpe, Coolgardie and Israelite Bay, during August and September.

Stumbled across the remnants of a Caladenia roei complex orchid then on the track back to camp some more rufous greenhoods are found.

Peak Elenore will have to wait for another visit as time has gotten away from us and this is our last night camping. Appears the rufous greenhood orchids are the dominant orchid complex at Peak Charles N. P. at this late time of the season. It was still a pleasure finding them and getting out into the “Great Outdoors”.

26/09/2020 ….. Peak Charles Long Weekend – Day 2

National Parks, Peak Charles NP, Weekend away, Western Australian Orchids

Waking up in the great outdoors and enjoying a hearty breakfast is such a wonderful way to start the day. As we could not find room at the established campground, we need to drive back to the adjoining day use car park for the beginning of the walk trail which heads up the peak. It is along the flat part of this trail that we find our first orchid. One Rufous greenhood (Pterostylis roensis) is found growing under the trees. This is a inland orchid found growing between Mt Jackson and Balladonia in the months of September to November. The relatively short lateral sepals are a distinctive feature.

The trail then commences a climb up the rocks with the ultimate goal of summiting Peak Charles. We however only plan on reaching the plateau between Peak Charles and the smaller mound to the east. We made it to Mushroom rock without finding another orchid which is a bit concerning however we rest for some photo opps then move on up further with hope in our hearts.

Deb locates a patch of mignonette orchids, however only one was in bloom. So I grab a few pics for record purposes and continue up to the plateau. They appear to be the Granite mignonette orchid (Microtis graniticola) due to the location, green coloured flowers and concave dorsal sepal. As the name suggests theses orchids occur on granite outcrops ranging from Mullewa to Balladonia.

Many spent donkey orchids Diuris sp. are found however none still in flower unfortunately. Once we reached the plateau we headed east with the plan to cross over to the other mount. Along the plateau it is devoid of orchids until we find another rufous greenhood in the throngs of opening up.

It is over 1 hr since we found the first orchid then excitedly we stumble across the small Sigmoid spider orchid (Caladenia sigmoidea) growing under some protective bushes. These wonderful little spider orchids are found inland between Mt Jackson to Mt Ragged. They only grow to 150mm in height and are distinguished by their S-shaped labellum apex.

Well the gully between the 2 mounts is deeper than we remember so we back track down the hill to follow the base of the rock around and then climb back up the 2nd mount.

Pushing our way onto the next mount we come across some other rufous greenhoods. Different species though this time. From my research I believe them to be the Striped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis zebrina) which occurs on granite outcrops from Merredin to Mt Ridley.

Deb is onto her spotting as usual and comes across a small patch of Shy greenhoods (Pterostylis allantoidea) which are a very distinctive orchid. Prominently extended dorsal sepal produces a pointed hood over a thick sausage like labellum. Found over a triangular range between Coolgardie, Raventhorpe and Israelite Bay.

Hidden under the same bush as the Shy greenhoods was a green coloured rufous greenhood. Solely due to the bright green colouring I am naming this one the Green spooned-lipped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis virens) as most others are green-brown or similar variations. If I had taken a photo of the labellum, this may have confirmed or otherwise my identification.

Over the remainder of the time we searched, the only orchids found were many more rufous greenhoods, of possible different species. Tough job trying to name these orchids. Assistance would be greatly received.

Nearing 1pm so we decide to head back down to the Triton and drive back to camp for some lunch and a quiet afternoon relaxing.

Very pleased to have found the Sigmoid spider orchids, however disappointed at the lack of Donkey orchids and other spider orchid species. It definitely was the day of the rufous greenhood complex orchids, which was wonderful.

Late Season Looks

Cape le Grand NP, Detours, East Naernup NR, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Stokes NP

06/10/2018

Whilst on a fishing trip to the beaches of  Cape le Grand National Park I take some time to check out the vegetation behind the dunes to see if I am lucky enough to find any orchids. In a patch of shallow soil overlaying limestone rock, which was trickling with water, I was lucky to find some Purple enamel orchids (Elythranthera brunonis). I also found close by  a Yellow sun orchid yet to open and a large leaf from unknown orchid. 

 

03/11/2018

Next fishing trip is to a place named Margaret Cove, which is west of Esperance in the Stokes National Park. Again I decide to talk a walk, however this time back along the track to see if I can find any late season orchids flowering. All I find are some Common mignonette orchids (Microtis media) growing on the very edge of the track. I check out burnt banksia scrub but nothing else is found.

11/11/2018

Remembrance day and we make a visit to Helms Arboretum to see if anything different is in flower out there. Only found some Common mignonette orchids and lots of the South African orchid (Disa bracteata) which is an introduced species that appears to occur in habitats that are disturbed or degraded from Geraldton to Israelite Bay during October and November. All the Sun orchids had finished for the season.

18/11/2018

The final orchid hunt occurred on the drive back from Perth. Nearly 4pm in the afternoon we pull into our special place in the East Naernup Nature Reserve on Mills Road near Munglinup. This little patch of bush we search and the first find are more Common mignonette orchids, which seems to be the only thing left flowering. Whilst grabbing a photo of one of these orchids, something catches my eye.  Finally something different is found late in the season.  A very poor specimen of the Ravensthorpe rufous greenhood (Pterostylis leptochila) is found, which flowers late September to November in a restricted range, from Ballinup River to Munglinup.

As it was just past 4pm and the sun was shining brightly we decide to spread out our search. This proved fortuitous as we discovered a much better rufous greenhood specimen as well as other mignonette orchids.

This did prove to be our last orchid hunt of  the 2018 season.

Roll on March 2019 when the hunt commences for the 2019 season. 

Pterostylis – Greenhoods, shell orchids, bird orchids, snail orchids & jug orchid.

List of Orchids Found

Pterostylis aspera complex (Shell orchids)

Flowering – May to August

There are 7 Western Australian species

  • Rosette leaves are present on non-flowering plants only.
  • Flowering plants have stem leaves.
  • Plants are found in colonies.
  • Mostly winter flowering

Green-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis scabra)

Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) 02/07/2017

Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila) 01/07/2017

Red-veined shell orchid (Pterostylis hamiltonii) 12/08/2018


Pterostylis nana complex (Snail orchids)

Flowering – May to November

There are 34 recognised Western Australian species

  • Flowering and non-flowering plants have a rosette of leaves (Exception – Robust snail orchid).
  • Labellum is not visible (Exception – Shy greenhood).
  • Narrow, thickened or clubbed lateral sepals.
  • Flowers are generally much smaller than the similar Shell orchids.

Shy greenhood (Pterostylis allantoidea)

Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata) 12/08/2018

Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf’) 29/07/2015 (Pterostylis crispula)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) 04/07/2015 (Pterostylis setulosa)

Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’) 09/07/2017

Skinny snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘skinny’) 29/07/2015

Fawn snail orchid (Pterostylis parva)

Lort river snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘south-coast clubbed sepals’) 02/07/2017

Red-sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis erubescens)

Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’)

Karri snail orchid (Pterostylis karri)

Coastal snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘coastal snail’)

Murdoch snail orchid (Pterostylis ectypha)

Southern thick-sepaled snail orchid (Pterostylis meridianalis)

Brittle snail orchid (Pterostylis timothyi)


Pterostylis rufa complex (Rufous greenhoods)

Flowering – August to December

There are 23 Western Australian species

  • Rosette may be withered at time of flowering.
  • Narrow ended lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Mostly spring flowering.
  • Multi-flowered inflorescence.

Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) 20/9/2017

Striped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis sp. ‘striped’) (Pterostylis zebrina)

Insect-lipped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis insectifera)

Ravensthorpe rufous greenhood (Pterostylis leptochila)

Rufous greenhood (Pterostylis roensis)

Elegant rufous greenhood (Pterostylis elegantissma)

Straight-topped rufous greenhood (Pterostylis sp. ‘straight tops’)


Pterostylis vittata complex (Banded greenhoods)

Flowering – April to October

There are 9 Western Australian species

  • Flowering plants lack rosette of leaves.
  • Short, broad lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Green or brown, white banded flowers.
  • Multi-flowered inflorescence.

Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) 25/07/2015

Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii) 20/09/2017

Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) 09/06/2018

Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) 12/08/2018


Pterostylis barbata complex (Bird orchids)

Flowering – July to November

There are 14 Western Australian species

  • No flattened rosette of leaves.
  • Feather-like, irritable labellum.
  • Long narrow lateral sepals, joined at the base.
  • Numerous stem leaves.

Bird orchid (Pterostylis barbata)

Dwarf bird orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘dwarf’) 20/09/2017 (Pterostylis galgula)

Bearded bird orchid (Pterostylis turfosa)


Pterostylis recurva

Flowering – August to October

This orchid does not fit into the other Pterostylis complexes

  • Narrow ended, prominently recurved lateral sepals.
  • Flowering plants lack a rosette of leaves.
  • Numerous stem leaves, with a small dark-coloured, almost circular leaf near the base

Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) 19/9/2017