The previous afternoon in the fading light we checked out the area around the camper where we found little but rubbish. Deb and I split up for the walk back to the camper and I was lucky enough to stumble across a shell orchid in a runoff. No camera or phone so returned this morning to grab a snap. They appear to be the Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila) as they do not have a protruding labellum. They flower July through September in a range between Hyden and Mt Ragged. Found a few more so grabbed some pics before heading off to Broomehill, where we are meeting up with Richard.
Size comparison of the first found orchid
Short, straight labellum, not visible in the set position
Brown-striped and white flowers
Large colonies of leaves with very few flowering plants.
Four to five stem leaves, 10 – 25mm long and 4 to 5mm wide.
Size comparison to index finger
Appears to be laughing
We make our way back to the South Coast Hwy and head west to Kukenarup memorial, another favourite haunt. Straight up we find a Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) which flower August to early October in a range from Israelite Bay to Kalbarri.
Four or more rows of purplish black calli
Single erect hairy leaf 80 to 180mm long
Horizontally spreading petals and lateral sepals
Many more donkey orchids were found which appear to be the South coast donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘south coast’) due to the recurved lateral sepals. The Green range donkey orchid occupies the same range however is recorded as having reflexed lateral sepals. Also located was a great specimen of the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which flower August to October from Geraldton to Israelite Bay.
Up to 10 flowers
Broad petals and dorsal sepal
Growing in the good olde prickly Resurrection Plant
Prominently recurved lateral sepals, joined at the base
Up to 5 flowers
Time to move on, so we make tracks for Jerramungup, where we stop for toilets and also purchased some forgotten items. Next stop is just past Ongerup, in Jaekel St, where we find more donkey orchids. This time though they appear to be Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) which flower July to September from Denmark to Esperance. Nearby though are some pale yellow donkey orchids which could be Western wheatbelt donkey orchids (Diuris brachyscapa) which flower July to September in a range bordered by York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe. The back on the Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road we find the Green range donkey orchid in large numbers.
Up to 10 flowers
Reflexed lateral seapls
Nice group shot
Broad petals and dorsal sepal
So many plants
Labellum – Broad spreading lateral lobes and a broad, flattened to convex mid lobe
Pale yellow brown marked flowers
Also located in these areas were a few scattered Sugar orchids (Ericksonella saccharata), which are found over a huge range from Paynes find to Israelite Bay, flowering during August and September. Plus a nice bright yellow Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), which flowers July to early December in a range from Geraldton to Israelite Bay.
Common inland orchid
White horizontal petals and lateral sepals
Yellow , red marker flowers
Arriving in Broomehill half an hour late, we find Richard and his matching Red Triton and camper parked outside the hotel. We make our way on foot to the Henry Jones Winery & Café for a coffee and one of the best BLT in Turkish bread ever. A leisurely walk back to the Tritons through the village of Broomehill, then we head out to an old historic bridge for a look. At the Wadjekanup Bridge we put the Tritons through a river crossing which they pass with flying colours. If only the water was this clear on the Holland Track !!!!.
Waiting on the BLT’s
Having lunch in Broomehill
Now the adventure really begins. We head north out of Broomehill, before turning right over the railway line and onto a single lane track. Welcome to the “Holland Track”. Looks great so far, as we drive down between green farming fields, before turning west into a patch of bush. Here we chose to camp the night, at a nice early time of 4.15pm. After making camp, I decide to check out the location for any orchids. Deb and Richard are collecting wood and lighting our camp fire, when I stumble across some large bright Cowslip orchids and a large hood of Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’)
Minimal red markings on this specimen
Hood of snails – pale members
Hairs on stem clearly visible
Debbie and Richard now join the hunt. Many more Cowslips and Snail orchids were found. Debbie also finds some great Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis) which flower late May to October between Murchison River and Israelite Bay in WA, plus they are also found in NSW, VIC, TAS and SA.
Petals held back
Uniformly coloured petals and sepals
The so called beard is much darker than the rest of the orchid
Getting late and with fading light we head back to the camp fire for a relaxing night after such a great day finding 10 orchid species.
Saying our goodbyes to Kirstie and Hamish we set off for a leisurely trip home to Esperance. Usually a 7 to 8 hr drive over 725km, we however take 15hrs, as we make numerous stops to hunt for orchids. Our first destination is Mount Dale in the Helena National Park. The wind is very chilly, however we brave this on our search for some orchid colour. We are not disappointed. First colour spotted is “yellow”. A Donkey orchid is found, but which one?? I’m making the call for the Winter donkey orchid (Diuris brumalis) which flower late June to August in a range from Jurien Bay to Collie. They prefer lateritic or granitic soils and up here in the hills that is the soil types encountered. Other specimens were found throughout our search of this area.
Short, erect, very broad dorsal sepal
Yet to fully open
Up to 15 flowers
Broad, elongated petals
Hanging lateral sepals
Close to our first donkey the next colour found is “pink”. Little pink fairy orchid (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) is found growing in the shelter of a granite boulder. These little beauties flower July to early October in a range from Northampton to Esperance. Singles, pairs and groupings are found in our extended search.
Deb then finds the colour “green”. A small patch of snail orchids hidden in a bush so only one visible for a photo. Could not see the rosette however based on location, pointed hood with brownish tones and medium sized lateral sepals, I will be naming it as Slender snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘crinkled leaf”). These flower late June to September in a large range from Perth down to Albany. Another patch yet to fully flower was found and the rosettes appear to confirm my classification.
Often pointed hood
Pushing up through thick scrubbery
Crinkled leaf rossette
Another species of “mixed” colour is found by Deb. Once again hidden or protected near a granite boulder. It appears to be an Autumn leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium) which has been fertilised.
Pinkish tones belies the species
Possible pollinator on one of the flowers
Next is a similarly “mixed” coloured orchid, which I found after pushing into the scrub for a few metres. Firstly I found a large patch of leaves and then with a slower look some orchids flowering were discovered. The genus of Cyrtostylis is known, but which species is it? By the smaller , duller flowers they must be the Midge orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelli) which is found from Kalbarri to east of Esperance during July and September.
Many leaves, only a few flowering so far
Forward facing labellum, sepals and petals.
Dull red, green, fawn flowers
Narrower labellum than the related Mosquito orchid
Well Mount Dale proved a good hunting ground with 5 species flowering, plus Jug and Bird orchids yet to flower found. Already 2.5 hrs (65kms) into our drive home, so we better move on, or we will break our 12 hr record for the drive home. Next stop planned is Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) however we detour into Westdale Road (Mud Map SE5) to see if we can find some of the species listed in the guide. First off we find the Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which flowers August to October in a range from Geraldton and Israelite Bay.
One flower in 3 stages of bloom
Deb is off exploring further whilst I slowly finish taking phone and camera pics of the Jug orchid. Only 2 mtrs away I find the Blood spider orchid (Caladenia filifera) and call Deb back to see. On the way back she also finds other specimens less than a metre off her original walk track. They are so hard to see until you find them , then they stick out more easily as we continue searching.
Glistening in the sun
Blood red in colour
Long pendulous petals and lateral sepals
Uniformly blood red flowers
Disbursed around the area are Common donkey orchids (Diuris corymbosa) which flower August to October in a range from Gingin to Bunbury and inland to near Brookton, our actual location funnily enough.
Up to eight flowers per plant
Often crossed lateral sepals
Broad erect dorsal sepal
Another new find for the season is the Blue beard (Phelandenia deformis) which flower late May to October in a range from Murchison River to Israelite Bay. Only 3 small flowers found but still it is a new one for this season.
Short spreading petals and sepals
It is now 4 hrs since we left and we have only covered 90kms of the distance home. Better get a move on. 20kms later we arrive at Williams Road (Mud Map SE6) where we had planned to explore for at least an hour as Deb had quickly checked this out on Tuesday when she drove to Perth, when she found at least 4 species flowering. First up we locate some more Common donkey orchids before Deb calls me over to a patch of at least 3 species in close proximity.
Broad elongated petals
Short, labellum mid lobe
First up are Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’).
Up to 14 stem leaves and 25 flowers per plant
Then as previously found in this location, there are Shell orchids everywhere. Many are finished as they flower from May to August. Mud Map records both Red and Brown veined shell orchids here in July so we have missed the peak flowering period it seems. From the flowering plants I believe them to be Red-veined shell orchids (Pterostylis hamiltonii) as they are darker coloured and most have the labellum protruding from the hood formed by the dorsal sepal and petals. These flower in a range from Toodyay to the Stirling Range in woodlands and Rock Sheoak thickets.
Also located close-by are some Little pink fairy orchids. So 4 species all within a 3 square metres area. Great find Deb.
Leaf tinged purple on the underside
Squat petals and lateral sepals
Labellum – Gives the common name away
Other species found during our search were Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) and Jug orchid. Also found was a meeting of Banded greenhood and Shells plus a Banded greenhood with a huge inflorescence.
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It’s now after 1.15pm and we have only travelled 110km of the 725km trip. Back to the Triton and a huge patch of spent shells is found plus the very first Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) for the season. These flower from north of Geraldton to Israelite Bay during July to December.
Carpets of shell orchids
Such bright yellow
Onwards to Brookton where we grabbed a Parmi Wrap for lunch. (Parma for Farmer – raising funds for drought relief in NSW/QLD). Eating whilst driving to catch up some time our next planned stop is the Corrigin Wildflower Trail which goes around the airport and is part of the Corrigin Nature Reserve. Taking the road in from the Dog Cemetery our first find are some more Little pink fairies
Nothing else found so onwards we go at a slow pace, then I jump out to walk and find some Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which flower between July and October in a range from Northampton to Grasspatch. They are very small and growing underneath bushes, making photo taking a lay down on the job task. Further Frog greenhoods are found along the trail.
Cupped lateral sepals
Green to dark-brown, white banded flowers
Bright green colouring in the sunshine
Up to 6 flowers per plant
Glistening in the sunshine
Up to 10 stem leaves
Fleshy, tri-lobed, frog-like labellum
Further along the track whilst walking I spy some nice snail orchids. They are the Robust snail orchid (Pterostylis dilatata). Another grouping was found further along by Deb whilst driving slowly along.
Standing up to 150mm in height
Erect, clubbed lateral sepals
3 to 5 stem leaves
Nice group shot
A sole Jug orchid was also found just yawning like a Pelican and further along what appears to be Pterostylis arbuscular which is a Mallee form of banded greenhood. No common name yet.
Slowly opening – Pelican yawning!!
Not yet opened
Finally a donkey orchid was found. Based on location alone this must be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which flowers July to September between York, Tenterden and Ravensthorpe. Corrigin is slightly east of the line York to Ravensthorpe.
Pale yellow, brown marked flowers
Up to four flowers per palnt
Short, broad dorsal sepal
Narrow, hanging, often reflexed, crossed lateral sepals
Nearly 4pm, or 8hrs into our trip home and we have only completed 220km of the 725km required. Best move on to our next planned stop, Macrocarpa Trail near Kulin. Just before 5pm Deb finds our first orchid of this trail. Appears to be Hairy-stemmed snail orchids.
Lateral sepals up to 35mm in length
Side n rear views
Standing up to 150mm in height
Extremely variable species
Time for a chat
up to 3 stem leaves
Also found further Frog greenhoods, Robust snail orchids, Dark banded greenhoods and another possible Pterostlyis arbuscular.
Nice double header
Variable coloured greenhood ..Possible common name
Then as the light is fading fast we venture into the bush and finally there they are.. Spider orchids in flower. We now rush to get as many photos as possible .. They are so small and with the fading light our photos are not the best but we need to record the find. From the location and size I believe we found the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) and the Pendant spider orchid (Caladenia pendens subsp. pendens) which both flower during August. The former July to October and the latter August to early October. The Common spider orchid ranges from Kalbarri to Esperance whilst the Pendant spider orchid ranges from Wongan Hills and Walpole. The Length of the petals and lateral sepals are a distinguishing feature.
Found in a variety of habitats
Tangle of petals and sepals
Latin, vulgaris means common, ordinary
Standing 150 to 300mm high
creamy-white red striped labellum
Slightly less pendulous that the Common spider orchid
Relatively broad red-striped labellum
Long pendulous petals and lateral sepals
The sun finally sets on our orchid hunting so we make tracks via Lake Grace for Steak Burger / Fish n chips dinner. Then after 15hrs we arrive home at 11pm. Long day however very happy at finding 20 species of orchid.
Headed straight out to Munglinup Beach camping area (Mud Map SE 33) to see if we could find some shell orchids as we did last season.There were so many rosettes however after searching high and low we only found one that was close to opening. We move location to the other area and it looked like we would be unsuccessful again with flowers yet to open found. Whilst taking photos of these I moved a branch to get a better shot and guess what? I found one opened. Yeah so happy.
Currently has a green colouring
Curled labellum is evident
Appears to be Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) which are found from Binningup to Esperance flowering June to August. Quite content we now make tracks down to the Oldfield River for a spot of lunch. Nothing caught our eye on the slow drive in, so upon finishing lunch we made tracks for Skippy Rock. No orchids found here either !! The views over the beach though are magnificent.
View from area orchids found prior season
Our last stop will be the main visitors area of Stokes National Park. We park up at the Day Use area and head up the steps that begin the Stokes Inlet Heritage Walk Trail. We only plan on walking half of it today as it is already after 3pm. Very small Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) are spotted with many, many rosettes.
More prolific though were different types of fungi.
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As it is now past 4.30pm we make a move for home with a detour to the camping ground. Driving slowly around Deb yells with glee as she spots some large darker greenhoods. Out we jump to grab some photos in the dying daylight. As the lateral sepals have opened it appears these are Dark banded greenhoods (Pterostylis sanguinea) which flower June to September in a range from Mullewa and Toolinna Cove. They are also found in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
Insect like labellum
Flattened lateral sepals
Dark reddish-brown to green flowers
Up to 10 fleshy flowers
Only the Pterostylis genus found today, however it was an awesome day out, getting some fresh air and sunshine.
Quick visit to Dempster Head ( Mud Map SE 34 ) to check on the progress o the orchids found last visit and to see if anything new has popped it’s head up. First batch of round leaves had buds growing but nothing in full flower. From the buds they will be a Cyrtostylis species. Found the spot where the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta) was last time and on the other side of the bush I found some better specimens.
Close profile shot
Still more flowers to come
Grouping of 3 in flower
The shell orchid found partially out was located now fully in bloom and confirmed to be a Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) with a few more partially formed neighbours. I then took into the bush on a wider inspection of the area in the hope of finding something new. Found more shell and mosquito orchids and a large area of what appears to be Rabbit orchid leaves.
Nice profile shot
Fully formed now
One of the new neighbours
Brighter coloured specimen
More orange coloured
Almost forgot to check on the Eastern granite snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘miniature’ ) to see if he had any buddies yet. Located him and he happened to have one new friend. Nothing new found today so will re-visit in a few weeks to see what can be found as there were many leaves of what appear to be Diuris and Caladenia species.
The original still looking strong
The only 2 in flower with a lot of rosettes surrounding them
A cold n wet morning greets us at the Munglinup Beach Caravan Park. First point of call after checkout is the Munglinup Beach camping ground.(Mud Map SE33) As would be expected the place was empty so we made our way around the fence into the scrub below the consolidated dunes to look for orchids. Many many roundish ground hugging leaves are found but none are in bud let alone flower. Then Deb calls me over as she has found some Shell orchids, yay. Unlike yesterdays orchids these have their tongues hanging out, or to be correct their labellum. This orchid is a Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) which ranges from Binninup to Esperance and flowers June to August.
First one found by Deb
Taken with a flash
We found many more shell orchids here and at the other beach access point further east. Near the camping ground we ventured across some snail orchids. The Lort River snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘south coast clubbed sepals’) is a possible match. From all accounts the season is early following the floods in February, so even though it is listed as flowering from August to September in the area from Boxwood Hill to Israelite Bay, I am happy to be naming it so.
Trio in a field of rosettes and moss
Final one for the day at the camping ground
Back view showing this flower
Rosette of the snail orchid leaves
View from vegetated dunes
Final shell for the day
We then moved on to the track leading from the Information Bay to the Oldfield River estuary. First sighting was a spent Hunched leek orchid (Prasophyllum parvifolium) with Dark banded greenhoods(Pterostylis sanguinea) nearby. Only more greenhoods were found so we headed homewards.
Single one on the other side of the track
Prasophyllum parvifolium complex
Just alongside the track
Lunch was eaten at Stokes Inlet National Park and then quickly looked around for orchids but only found some greenhoods (no photos) and Hare leaves and caladenia leaves.
All in all it was a fruitful 300km weekend with 8 orchid species found albeit two were past their best but still identifiable.
We decided to have an overnight trip over to Munglinup even though the forecast is for a very wet, windy and cold weekend. Saturday morning was beautiful sunny and cloud free, so much for the storm forecast for Friday night. First point of call was to fill up the Triton with diesel, buy some supplies from Woolies, grab some cash for accommodation and our favourite $2 coffees from Shell.
First stop was along the highway opposite the Dalyup tennis club. Only found a lone greenhood Banded greenhood (Pterostylis vittata) then on the way back noticed he had a spent friend.
Way past it’s best.. Fertilised???
Onward to Cascade falls, on Loop Road, where we parked in the same spot as our first ever visit and walked along the Lort River to the so called falls. For the middle of winter the water was rather low. Unlike last time, which was later in the season, we found diddly squat, however the sunshine and fresh air made for perfect walking weather. Back on Cascade Road we head west towards Neds Corner Road and stop at the first Cascade Nature Reserve which incorporates the old Cascade School site and slowly drove around. Nothing caught our eye so we headed further west to the next section of the Nature Reserve. We took a track north and parked in a limestone quarry/pit and decided to go for a bush bash and see what, if anything, we could find
I came across a bunch of very small Pterostylis rosettes however nothing was in bud so I assumed another dud area so I took a pic of the leaves. 2 metres away were some more rosettes and one was in flower but not fully developed, so more pics were taken. It was a Shell orchid with dark brown tones. As I was struggling to stand up I moved a small branch and hidden beneath was a fully formed Shell orchid flower. From my pictures and orchid book it would appear to be a Dwarf shell orchid (Pterostylis brevichila) as they flower July to September and are found between Hyden and Mt Ragged. Very excited to find something new so yelled out to Deb to come over and check it out.
So many rosettes so few flowers
Dark stripes hint to ???
With added enthusiasm we venture further afield together and Deb spots some nice Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) and very close by some spent Pygmy orchids (Corunastylis tepperi). Many more of both were found. A dark banded greenhood is found and appears to be a Cupped banded greenhood (Pterostylis concava) but they range as far east as Mt Barker so it must be a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea). Walking around we find more greenhoods and shells in full flower and many more pygmy orchids finished for the season. Lunch time, then south along Neds Corner Road.
Fertilised ( Corunastylis tepperi )
Profile shot showing off the coloured lines
Two nice heads ready to open and two little heads still to form
Full head shot
We stopped alongside the road as up ahead the rain had finally arrived, so we made a quick check of the scrub. I was excited to find a Donkey orchid in flower. It appears to be a Green range donkey orchid (Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’) which flowers July to September from Denmark to Esperance. Further specimens were found and then we bolt back to the Triton as the rain arrives with a vengeance. Unfortunately it does not stop for the rest of the day, though is does lessen in magnitude.
Diuris sp. ‘Green Range’
Spots on one petal
Unusual colouring and shape. Petals have a few nips out of them
Another stop on Neds Corner Road found more Dark banded greenhoods and Green range donkey orchids. A right turn had us travelling west along Mills Road, where I spied a Donkey orchid with a double head on the side of the road. Young river provided a break but no orchids found. Further along Mills Road Deb took a track to the east and spotted a lone Donkey orchid. A little further along and the Triton sinks into the muddy track causing 4WD to be engaged to reverse out. No more down that track!
Wet after a shower of rain
Triple yet to flower
The double I spied whilst driving down Mills Road
The lone orchid on the boggy track
Afternoon tea consumed in the Triton, waiting for the rain to ease up, at the Munglinup River crossing. (Mud Map SE 32) Only a few leaves found here. So next was our usual stop along Mills Road which turns up more Donkeys and Greenhoods and then our final stop is at East Naernup Nature Reserve with further Donkeys and Greenhoods found. We head via Doyle Road to Munglinup Beach Caravan Park to our little cabin for the night
Poor old orchid has had a big munch taken out of it
Mills Rd usual stop never disappoints
Deb having a go at using her iPhone for close-ups
Beautiful even when wet
Little but cute
East Naernup Nature Reserve
Last stop for the day … 1st visit this early in the season.