2019 Road Trip – Flat Rock Nature Reserve to Ravensthorpe

Lake Varley, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Pallarup, Road Trip


We wake up to a beautiful sunny spring morning. A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed as we know our destination today, so no need to rush. It’s after 9am before we finally leave Flat Rock Nature Reserve and head off in an easterly direction down the Kulin-Holt Rock Road. We reach Lake Varley and pull over on the side of the road and decide to check out the flat granite outcrop, which we later find is a part of the Lake Varley Nature Reserve.

Deb finds the first orchid growing under the scrub at the edge of the rock. The wonderful yellow donkey orchids are again flowering at the edge of the rock under the protection of the scrubs. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) is know to grow in the region with sightings recorded in Atlas of Living Australia. Kulin shire is also one of the Local Government Areas (LGA) listed in Florabase as being a location for this orchid. Links to these resources are found via the “+” sign at the bottom of every page.

Close by some wispy spider orchids are found. Due the creamy colouring of the flowers they appear to be the Cream spider orchid (Caladenia horistes) which flowers from August to early-October over an easterly range from Fitzgerald River National Park to Balladonia, however Kulin LGA is listed in Florabase as a location for this orchid.

Another yellow orchid pops up. The wonderful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is such a cheerful orchid to find. Bright yellow flowers with such random markings; from spots, stripes, blotches to barely none at all. This little grouping has mainly spots. The view back to the Triton provides an indication of the habitat we are exploring.

Other orchids found were a solitary Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) . Both have vast inland ranges and flower during September.

Then a perfect specimen of the Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) is found in all it’s glory. Another inland orchid but only found from Northampton to Jerramungup, so not as widespread as the Sugar or Hairy stemmed Snail orchids.

Well now the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) turns up to entertain us. They are said to resemble a crucifix due to the petals and lateral sepals.

Then came across more Sugar orchids and a grouping of Western wheatbelt donkey orchids before finally heading back to the Triton. Last small orchids found were the Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) which were camouflaged well in the moss on the granite rock.

Time to move onto our next place to explore. We detour a slight bit to check out Holt Rock. We drive into the day use area of Holt Rock but chose not to go for an exploration, though it looks like a great place to check out another time. Further south we arrive at Varley and go check out a place on the map named Dempster Rock. After a little searching we find a track into the approximate area. Looking out our windows we are rewarded with orchids.

Some old favourites were the first found. Sugar orchids and Jug orchids (Pterostylis recurva) . Both are common orchids but always a pleasure to find.

Then the spider orchids start jumping out of the woodlands. They have strong yellow tonings and therefore appear to be the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which flowers July to September in the range Paynes Find to Norseman. My references refer to them being yellow, cream or pink-red in colour with either a small pale yellow or pale white red striped labellum. Whiter specimens are found close by.

Identifying the spider orchids is difficult given many overlap in locations and they have similar features. The Western wispy spider orchid and the Ironcaps spider orchid both also have smaller labellums than others plus the Ironcaps spider orchid also varies in colour from creamy-white to pale yellow. All three orchids are shown as being located in the Varley area in the Atlas of Living Australia.

Now we do find other orchids as well, so I will mention these ones now before adding more varied spider orchid photos. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, Blue beards (Pheladenia deformis), Little laughing leek orchids, sugar orchids and Western wheatbelt donkey orchids are found.

The most amazing find though was a Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica). The reason for my amazement – is it’s height of 190mm. The tallest I have ever seen. These orchids are found in all the states of Australia which is quite amazing.

Now back to these other spider orchids. Firstly we found more Drooping spider orchids or are they? Possible hybrid with the c. dimidia as the labellum is very pale in colour with smooth margins. So I will leave the actual identification for now.

Then other spider orchids found. Some in clumps and some in isolation but all beautiful as ever. Some white, whilst others had reddish tones. Any help in naming these would be appreciated.

Getting peckish, so we finally leave this great new location and head back to Varley then down to Lake King for a meal at the tavern. After a great counter lunch and beer, we cruise further south to one of our favourite patches, Pallarup Rock. Located in the Pallarup Nature Reserve this location proves a fruitful orchid patch on most visits. Today is no exception. Within minutes we locate the first of many orchids. The Pink candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) is found in many colour variations. This first one is very pale but others are bright pink.

Next up we find some donkey orchids. The Western wheatbelt donkey orchid has been recorded in the Lake Grace shire whilst the other possible orchid, the Green Range donkey orchid is recorded in the Ravensthorpe shire which is nearer the coast. The basal leaves observed are not that wide which is causing me some angst in trying to ID them, so I will just posts the pics.

We now move onto the track to the water tank and at the junction find some more Sugar orchids. Then on the side of this track the first orchids found are Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) which was named in honour of Oswald Sargent in 1905. He was an early West Australian orchidologist and pharmacist from York, where the specimen used to name it was collected in 1904.

Moving along the track the first of the spider orchids appear. The first one is an excellent example of the wispy complex. As there is one lonely specimen I will not attempt to name it, as there are too many variables with these wispy spider orchids. It could be one of three known to this location or a hybrid between two of them.

Close by is another spider orchid, but from the White spider orchid compex this time. As the sepals and petals are not that pendulous I believe this to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) which is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite bay from August to October. Florabase records Lake Grace and Dundas LGA’s as also being the location of this orchid, so 50kms north of Ravensthorpe in the Lake Grace shire seems appropriate.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as an unnamed subspecies of Caladenia longicauda. I will provide my own common name as Pallarup Rock white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. ‘Pallarup Rocks’). Exciting to find a new subspecies.

A small blue orchid catches Deb’s eagle eye. A lone china orchid is found. This pretty blue orchid has not been found in this location on any of our numerous prior visits, so this is an exciting find. Due to the darker blue colouring, scattered calli on labellum and the location this orchid must be the Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata) which has the largest range of all china orchids in WA, being from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay. Flowering period is August to early-November. The one feature that did cause me confusion with the ID was the colour of the labellum, as the mostly blue labellum conflicted with the pictures in my references, which show the labellum as being mostly white or blue striped.

EDIT: With thanks to Margaret’s assistance (refer comments) the ID has been clarified as the Granite china orchid (Cyanicula nikulinskyae) which is restricted to a range between Fitzgerald River National Park and Israelite Bay. My location is 50kms north of this coastline. Flowering period is September to early-November.

Further white spider orchids were found and their features confirm my identification as Rigid white spider orchids. Also another wispy spider orchid is found and this one appears to be the Common spider orchid (Caladenia vulgata) which as the name suggests is found over a large area, from Kalbarri to Esperance, flowering during the period July to mid-October.

Next up we come across some Ant orchids. They are also known as Clown orchid, Man orchid and Jack-in-the Box.

More yellow patches are seen growing in the Pincushion plant (Borya constricta) and Sundew (Drosera). The Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) are another widespread orchid which flower from July to October. The latin name antennifer (antennae) refers to the little lobes on the column.

Many more spider orchids are found together with patches of Cowslips and Blue beards popping up here and there. A wonderful kaleidoscope of colours.

A relative of the Ant orchid is also found in the scrub around the rock. The Short-sepaled spider orchid (Caladenia brevisura) is a common orchid found between Ravensthorpe to Israelite Bay. We have previously found these orchids east of Esperance at Condingup so we have now found them at both edges of their range.

Other orchids found in our exploration of Pallarup Rock are the Jug orchid, Little laughing leek orchid and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (or is it?) .

4.30 in the afternoon so time to move on to Ravensthorpe for our overnight stay. We spend our last night of our road trip as we did on our first night. Staying with our son, Timothy in his little duplex unit in Ravensthorpe.

Went to bed happy to have discovered at least 19 species today, which is amazing. Also a tinge of sadness as tomorrow is our final day.

2019 Road Trip – Narembeen to Flat Rock Nature Reserve

Numerous days, Road Trip


Whilst having breakfast we are walking around in the sunshine when I spy what appears to be a black poly pipe coming from the leach drain of the Septic Tank at the back of the toilets. However it then moved and scared the beejesus out of me. I called out to Deb who arrived in time to see it wriggle backwards back into its hole. Whoa we steer clear of that area as we pack up. We drove around the back of the toilets as we left and it was back out, sunning itself. It lifted it’s head to watch us move by.

So we now make our way further east to a place called Roe Dam. The dam was initially planned in 1929 but put off as too costly and was finally built in 1970/71, to provide the Mt Walker farming community with water. The catchment area is 140 acres (56ha) of granite rock and the dam holds 20 million gallons (91 million litres). We pull into the old picnic area as the dam area appears to be out of bounds. This old area has working toilets and shade to park up so all good. First stop for the day so off we go exploring.

First orchids found are the Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which as the name suggests are easily identified by their hairy stem. Other than this they are extremely variable in appearance ranging from 50 to 250mm in height, lateral sepals are from 10 to 35mm in length and stem leaves can be 8 to 20mm in length.

Moving towards the granite outcrop we also find a small donkey orchid. This one is much duller than the ones found on previous days. From this it would appear to be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid (Diuris brachyscapa) which flowers from July to September in locations east of the Albany highway from York down to Tenterden then east to Ravensthorpe. Florabase records the Narembeen shire as one such location.

Then nearby a splash of blue catches our eye. On closer inspection it is a Blue beard (Pheladenia deformis) which is a common orchid found from the Murchison River to Israelite Bay, as well as all the other southern states of Australia. They were originally classified as Caladenia back in 1810, then placed in Pheladenia in 2001.

Another orchid was found in the company of a snail orchid. The Sugar orchid (Ericksonella saccharata) is another common inland orchid, being found from Paynes Find to Israelite Bay. It is a distinctive white flowering orchid with purple lined labellum lobes.

Then just before we reach the granite another type of orchid is found. The Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) is one of the most regularly encountered orchids of the Wheatbelt. It flowers from Eurardy Station to Ravensthorpe during the months August to October. Named in honour of John Septimus Roe, the first surveyor general of WA in 1873.

Upon reaching the granite outcrop, we slowly ascent and find another donkey orchid growing in the vegetated sections of the rock. The bright Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) is found again which is not surprising as they range from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums over the months of August and September. It is great to find 2 species of Diuris in the one location.

I get caught up taking lots of photos and Deb gets to scout ahead. She calls out that she has found loads of Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophylum gracile) of both colour variations. So over I trot to grab some photos and there is Deb laying down getting her own shots. These little guys are very widespread and flower over a 4 mth season.

We are now looking down at the dam, which is fenced off so we decide to descend to the woodlands below and make our way back to the picnic area. As soon as we leave the rock and enter the woodlands we discover another spider orchid. This time it is the Drooping spider orchid (Caladenia radialis) which are found from Northampton to Jerramungup during the period August to October. As the name suggests both the petals and sepals usually droop down. We find loads of these orchids throughout the woodlands, many in clumps, which is a feature of this orchid.

Intermixed with all the drooping spider orchids were more Blue beards, Ant orchids and the favourite Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) which we have not seen for a while now (Last found 31/8 in Bunbury).

Now there was one special little orchid found which had yet to fully unfurl, but we had to grab a photo or two. It appears to be a hypochromic Drooping spider orchid.

Time to move on, so we jump in the Triton and head south to Hidden Hollow at Mt Walker. First up we have a bite for lunch then decide to take the Hidden Hollow Walk Trail. There is a small dam built at the base of the rock. The sign advises it was built to wash out the hessian bags which were then dried on the rock. This pre-dated the introduction of bulk handling of grain and fertilizer.

We make it to the so called Amphitheatre without sighting any orchids which was disappointing. However in the wet moss on the rocks below this feature Deb finds many more Little laughing leek orchids. Some of them are really dark in colour.

As the rock did not produce much in the way of orchids we decide to make the way back to the parking area via the woodlands at the base of the granite. Within minutes we have found a different orchid. The common Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava) is found. This is by far the most common and widespread of the four subspecies. In close proximity is the likeable Ant orchid

A little further along we discover one then many more Fringed mantis orchids (Caladenia falcata) which flower from August to October over a range from Wongan Hills to Jerramungup. Distinctive feature are upswept lateral sepals which are narrowly clubbed.

Among all these Fringed mantis orchids are other Ant orchids and a lonely Sugar orchid. Plus some greenhoods were found, however they had finished their flowering and had closed up. Then one was found with two flowers still open and from the colouring, size of plant and number of flowers I believe this to be the Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) which flower until early September in inland locations from Northampton to Eyre.

Then to top of our finds we come across some wonderful Caladenia hybrids. The Spectacular spider orchid (Caladenia x spectabilis) is a hybrid between the Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava) and the Pink fairy (Caladenia latifolia). Narembeen is a location for both these parents so seems fitting we find their babies.

We make it back to the Triton and decide to head off without really knowing where we will stop next. Taking the road back towards Narembeen, we actually miss the town as we come out south of it on the Kondinin-Narembeen Road. We drive through Kondinin and move down towards Kulin, where we decide to check out the below pictured trail again, which is located just out of Kulin.

The trail is around 1.1km in length, so off we trot on our search for orchids. First up we come across some Jug orchids, which are unique in the shape of their flowers. Other common names are: Recurved shell orchid, Antelope orchid and Bull orchid.

Next up we find some small white spider orchids. From the size of the labellum I will be calling these ones the Western wispy spider orchids (Caladenia microchila) which flower from July to October over an inland range of Kondinin to Madura.

Then we move from white spider orchids to green spider orchids. A wonderful pair of Fringed mantis orchids is found. Their leaves were so healthy when compared to other mantis orchids found, so just had to get a photo of them.

Now time to find orchids that are not from the Caladenia genre. Lucky for us the small Frog greenhoods (Pterostylis sargentii) start to appear along the side of the track. Found from Northampton to Grasspatch during the season July to October, the Frog greenhood is a common inland orchid.

Then we find a bevy of orchids of different types within cooee of each other. There is the Sugar orchid, Jug orchid, Mallee banded greenhood and Hairy-stemmed snail orchid.

Whilst jostling around to get the photos a lone speck of pink catches my eye. There is a Little pink fairy (Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans) which cannot be seen from the track, however as I was off the track taking photos it came into view. These little beauties grow from July till October between Northampton and Esperance.

Further along the track a donkey orchid appears. Then others show up the more we explore. The ID is difficult as the single one appears bright yellow with dark markings, which is akin to the Yellow granite donkey orchid, however the mutli flowered one is paler with lighter marking so appears to be the Western wheatbelt donkey orchid. Florabase records Kulin as a location for the later only so I will leave it up to others the help with the positive ID.

Further orchids found, however nothing new so took a few more pics before heading back to the Triton for the final leg of today.

Heading east from Kulin we turn south towards Pingaring to see if there was somewhere to camp overnight. We drove around the edge of the bush block that incorporated the golf course and Nature Reserve but there was no obvious place to stay. So back to the Kulin-Holt Rock Road. Heading further east we finally pull into a gravel pit at the edge of Flat Rock Nature Reserve. This will be our camp for the night.

So today was very much unplanned but we found loads of orchids, which is great. We found 15 species, 1 hybrid and 1 hypochromic orchid, so definitely one of our better days this trip. After a beautiful sunset we hit the sack.

2019 Road Trip – Beringbooding Rock to Narembeen

Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Ski Lake, Yanneymooning

Waking up to a clear blue sky we have breakfast then hit Berinbooding rock for a morning walk..Oh my it is windy and cold up on the rock. We do our best to keep on the track but get a bit lost I think. The only orchid found was the Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which flowers over an inland range from Kalbarri to Norseman during the period August to early-October. Beringbooding Rock has the largest rock water catchment tank in Australia, built in 1937 and holding over 10 million litres.

Packed up the camper and headed a bit further east to the next stop on the Wheatbelt Way – Elachbutting Rock. We pulled into a parking area and took the walk trail to Monty’s Pass. Along this trail we found further Dainty blue orchids.

Closer to the rock we take the track to the wave feature, which compares to Wave Rock in Hyden. In the vegetation at the base Deb finds a lone Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp,’inland’) which is well past its prime.

We now move onto Monty’s Pass which is a 30 metre tunnel caused by a rock slide. At the end of the tunnel we find a nice double-header Dainty blue orchid.

We then ventured on the drive around this massive rock, however did not find anymore orchids. We did however find a rock lined well and many wildflowers.

Leaving Elachbutting Rock we head south and pull into a place called Yanneymooning Hill which is surrounded by the Yanneymooning Nature Reserve. We scout around for a bit and only found another Hairy-stemmed snail orchid.

Moving along we head south to Boodalin Soak another stop on the Wheatbelt Way. Here we pull up at the rock lined well and grab lunch. This water supply was a part of the track from York to Coolgardie, which was cleared by Charles Cooke Hunt in 1865. We are in a part of Westonia Common, which is comprised of 15 remnant vegetation reserves surrounding the town of Westonia. The common covers an area of approximately 2500ha. Scouting around the soak we only find more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids, however they are in much better condition. Also there are so many pink everlastings.

We move onto the low granite rock and immediately find some donkey orchids. They must be further Yellow granite donkey orchids (Diuris hazeliae) which are found on granite outcrops between Paynes Find and Salmon Gums during the months of August and September. No other donkey orchid is found so far to the east except down near the coast, so I am confident in my identification.

Also found growing on the rocks were some small Little laughing leek orchids (Prasophyllum gracile) which flower over a large range from Shark Bay to Eyre during the period July to October. Also found near the summit, well Ok the highest point of the rock, is a Pterostylis from the Rufa complex yet to bloom. Too early for this one unfortunately.

Coming down off the rock and heading back to the parking spot we come across lots of Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea) in varying shades of pink, with one only having pink tipped calli. These orchids flower during the period late-June to September over a large range from Kalbarri to Israelite Bay.

Well what do we stumble across next? A Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) with one of his sepals pointing in a weird direction just like the earlier found Donkey orchid with his petal. These orchids are found from Paynes Find to Norseman, during the period July to late-September. The creamy colouring of the flower and labellum provide my ID, however the similar Ironcaps spider orchid (Caladeina paradoxa) may also be the correct ID. Please provide your thoughts to assist my final ID.

Also discovered was a trio of Ant orchids (Caladenia roei) which are an inland orchid flowering from August to October between Eurardy Station and Ravensthorpe. Of the 3 found only 2 were in flower.

Next up is a white wispy spider orchid. From the size of the leaf and the large white squat calli I believe them to be the Glistening spider orchid (Caladenia incensum) which flowers from late-June to September over a inland range from Hyden to Nerren Nerren Station. I did not get leaf photos for all of them so it is possible some are a hybrid with the Common spider orchid which may have a thinner leaf.

However by far the most numerous orchid was the Dainty blue orchid. They were in singles and in big groups with a couple of very special ones found. They are pure white. Hypochromic to the max, with no colouring at all, however to be albino the stem and leaf would be white as well.

Finally back to the Triton and camper after so many stops to take photos. Not complaining though. We head into Westonia and grab a coffee at the local co-op, supplying our own lactose free milk, which was a bonus. Quaint town with their main street decorated to look like a town in the distant past. Heading south from Westonia we now also leave the Wheatbelt Way. We must drive it in it’s entirety one day.

As we had visited Merredin back in June we decide to turn south down the Merredin-Narembeen Road, which passes near the Collgar Wind Farm, which when built was the largest single stage wind farm in the southern hemisphere. Unsure if it still is though.

Now all we have to do is find an overnight camp site. Next town on the map is Narembeen, however we turn east just before there and drive out to the Ski Club. Here we set up by the toilet block, which is not working due to no water. Loving the way they name the Gents & Ladies. After setting up and lighting the fire, I go off for a wander into the neighbouring Ski Lake Nature Reserve on the hunt for any orchids.

The land around the lake and into the woodlands was very dry and desolate so I was only successful in finding one lone orchid in flower. However it is a new species for this road-trip so I am pleased. This poor Midget greenhood (Pterostylis mutica) looks like he has had a hard life. These little guys flower from July to October in a range from Wongan hills to the South Australian border. They are also found in all other states of Australia as well.

9 species found flowering today with a Pterostylis yet to bloom. Plus the bonus Hypochromic Dainty blue orchid ensured the trip from the North Eastern Wheatbelt to the Open Wheatbelt was a successful and enjoyable day.

2019 Road Trip – Caron Dam Reserve to Burakin

Latham, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Road Trip, Xantippe


Destination unknown we head off south down the Mullewa Wubin road. Just past Latham we turn east and pull into the Latham Nature Reserve for a quick look. We both head into the reserve in different directions. After looking around and into the reserve a bit we conclude that the only orchids are the ones on the verges with the roads. On one verge we find some Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which are located between Kalbarri and Balladonia during the months of June to September. Common inland snail orchid which is extremely variable in appearance.

Another species found on this verge is the Ant orchid (Caladenia roei) which flowers August to October in locations from Eurardy Station to Ravensthorpe. They are the most widespread of the so called Small spider orchids.

On the other verge we found a Dainty blue orchid (Cyanicula amplexans) which occur inland from Kalbarri to Norseman during the months of August to early October.

We move further south to the Maya Nature Reserve however did not find any orchids in our quick check so moved onto the siding of Maya where we took the time to check on their historical display. The townsite was gazetted in 1913 and is now only a receival point for CBH. A world record was set in 2003 when 55 headers harvested a paddock at the same time.

From Maya we head south again, before venturing into Buntine Rock (Mud Map N 38), which as the name suggests is near the small town of Buntine. It is not however located in the nearby Nature Reserve. We have visited this spot previously so parked up and immediately headed onto the flat granite area. Some beautiful Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) were found in flower. These orchids flower from July to October in locations between Shark Bay and Israelite Bay.

More yellow orchids are found, however these are from a different genus. The Pale donkey orchid (Diuris pallescens) is found which flowers from late-august to late-September between Moora and Minganew. This location is a bit further east however recordings have been logged in Atlas of Living Australia, so I am happy with this identification. Other donkey orchids found though appear to be the Dainty donkey orchid (Diuris refracta) as the flowers are much more colourful, petals are broad and rounded, plus the lateral lobes to the labellum are narrower. East of recorded location, Bindoon to Northampton and they flower late-July to early-September, so I may be in error, so please correct me if wrong.

Moving on we stumble across a nice trio of Ant orchids in the midst of the donkey orchids. The fourth orchid is still in bud.

Then an exciting find is made. Our first dragon orchid of the season is found growing underneath the shrubbery. The Narrow-lipped dragon orchid (Caladenia mesocera) flowers from August to early-October in inland locations from Pingrup to Paynes Find. This is the first time we have found this orchid species so very excited indeed.

Our attention is then drawn back to the donkey orchids which are everywhere.

Some of the donkey orchids are brighter yellow, so appear to possibly be another species. I will call these ones the Yellow granite donkey orchid (Diuris hazeliae) which flower during August and September on inland granite and breakaway habitat from Paynes Find to Salmon Gums.

Also discovered a patch of Kalbarri cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata). As they appear to be covered in blotches rather than regular patterns, I am confident in this classification. Maybe to ones found yesterday near Eneabba were also Kalbarri cowslips. If so please correct me an I will go back and edit that post. A little south of Perenjori which is listed as their southern boundary, however sightings in Atlas of Living Australia confirm Buntine Rock as a location. These orchids flower from July to early-September as far north as Shark Bay.

We climbed to the top of Buntine Rock for the 360 degree views then made our way back to the Triton and camper. On the way we find further Ant and Dainty Blue orchids.

Leaving Buntine Rock we head south to Dalwallinu, where we have a counter meal in the local pub, before shopping for some supplies. Now we head east on the Dalwallinu-Kalannie road, taking a detour into the Xantippe Nature Reserve and park up at the water tank. The water tank was constructed in the 1920’s to supply water to Dalwallinu however due to issues pumping the water over the surrounding hills , this was abandoned with water being used by the local farmers instead.

Xantippe tank

It is now around after 3pm, so we have a quick look around the granite near the tank. More Ant orchids and Lemon-scented sun orchids are found.

Then a little orchid is found and on closer inspection, further Little laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum gracile) are found. These little guys flower from July to October over a vast range from shark Bay to Eyre. They vary from the standard yellowy-green colouring to purplish.

Now time to move on and get to our newly chosen overnight stop. We are popping in on my cousin Mary-lou in Burakin, where she is now the sole resident. Pulling up we find a caravan already set -up so were unsure if we would be able to stay. However the caravan was another cousin, in fact Mary-lou’s eldest brother Ian and his wife. So it was a great reunion given I have no memory of every meeting Ian before this. It turns out he is the oldest male and I am the youngest male of the fraternal side of our families. Fancy that!!

10 species found today, so we hit the sack happy.

2019 Road Trip – Bedfordale to Caron Dam Reserve via Lake Indoon

Caron Dam, Depot Hill, Dookanooka, Lake Logue, Nature Reserves, Numerous days, Other Reserves, Road Trip


Waking up a bit better than expected after a heavy night socialising we enjoy a cooked breakfast then thanking our hostess, Sandy, we head off to catch up with family for the day. After spending the day with family, we head off from Deb’s brother’s place in Attadale around 3pm and make our way north. At 5.30 we pull into Caltex at Cataby where we enjoy a huge roast dinner, before heading up to Lake Indoon where we set up the camper and have a good nights sleep.


Waking up to a crisp morning I take a quick check down the track we had parked near. I spied a couple of nice White spider orchids so went back to have breakfast feeling blessed to be in the great outdoors with orchids waiting to be found. There are many campers at Lake Indoon however not to many seem to be looking in the bush so when we finally head off on our hunt, we do so in peace. (Mud Map N 13a, 13b)

I immediately head back to my White spider orchids whilst Deb finds a great patch of Cowslips (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). The spotted markings pointed to the Kalbarri cowslips orchids but the red lines and southerly location do not support this, unfortunately.

Now my White spider orchids could be one of 3 sub-species found in our current location. Ok so I believe some of the White spider orchids found were Daddy long-legs white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. borealis) due to the labellum having very long fringe segments.

Others seem to be Coastal white spider orchids (Caladenia longicauda subsp. calcigena) due the the labellum calli moving out of rows into irregular agglomerations. The labellum is relatively narrow which is very evident in a hypochromic specimen found.

The third sub species found in this location is the Small-lipped white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. albella) which is similar but smaller to Daddy long-legs, however prefers damper situations and has been known to grow with the base of the stem in water.

All 3 subspecies flower during September and include Eneabba or thereabouts in their listed distributions, so I am happy to believe I found all 3 this time round.

Back in 2016 we paid Lake Indoon our first visit and an unusual orchid was found everywhere, however we were getting worried we missed it this time. However the Arrowsmith spider orchid (Calaedenia crebra) starts to show itself finally. These orchids flower in August and September, in limited near coastal locations, between Jurien Bay and Dongara.

A single Pink fairy (Caladenia latifolia) is found on the other side of the road with many more Arrowsmith and White spiders. Initially I thought it was a Pale pink fairy however they do not appear to flower this far south.

Now to top of the finds for the day the named hybrid, Northern sandplain spider orchid (Caladenia x coactescens) is also found. This is a hybrid between the Arrowsmith spider orchid and the White spider orchid. My references name the White spider orchid parent as Caladenia borealis. Back on the south of the road we stumble across 3 more hybrid flowers, which is amazing.

We now head back to the camper to pack up, as we left it set up to dry completely in the sun, due to it still being damp in the morning when we left for our exploration. Just after 10am we leave camp but get no further than a few kms down the road at the Lake Logue Nature Reserve. (Mud Map N 11) Walking north of the Coolimba Eneabba Road along a track, Debs heads east and I head west.

I come across Cowslips and nothing else, which is untrue, the wildflowers are beautiful just no other orchid species. Deb on the other hand finds Cowslips and some Donkey orchids. They appear to be Arrowsmith pansy orchids (Diuris tinkeri) which flower late July to late September in a northerly range from Yanchep to Geraldton. They do not have the stated purple colouring though, so I may be incorrect. Moving back over the road, near where we parked Deb finds some more donkey orchids.

We now move on to the very eastern boundary of the Nature reserve and turn south down Erindoon Road. (Mud Map N 10) Pulling up on the edge of the road we check the western side of the road and find more cowslips. First found are the standard cowslip, however some small ones that appear to be Kalbarri cowslips (Caladenia flava subsp. maculata) are also found. The spotted markings on the flower are not random but in distinct lines so unfortunately they appear to be the standard cowslips as well.

Moving further south we stop at a creek crossing, dry of course, to see what may be around. Only found further cowslips and a beautiful Green Jewell beetle (Stigmodera gratiosa) on a Geraldton Wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum) plant.

Next stop is the intersection of Brand Highway and the Eneabba Three Springs Road. This is an un-named Nature Reserve where we find more cowslips and better coloured Arrowsmith pansy orchids. Now time to find somewhere nice to have lunch.

Along the Eneabba Three Springs Road we pull into the Depot Hill Nature Reserve for lunch. Of course we also go exploring. Well this was a great idea as we come across numerous spider orchids. Now all I have to do is identify them. My first find was a Caladenia longicauda sp. whilst Deb finds a spider orchid from the filamentosa complex.

The orchid found by Deb appears to be the Yellow spider orchid (Caladenia denticulata subsp. denticulata) which flowers August to early October in locations from Waroona and Eneabba. This subspecies is a pale yellow-green coloured flower with white red striped relatively narrow labellum.

Harder to ID is the White spider orchid. Seem to be more Small-lipped white spider orchids however the situation does not appear to be overly damp so may actually be Daddy long-legs or Coastal white spider orchids. Many others found over this location which could be either species. All 3 possible sub-species have been named below. Please correct my identification if incorrect.

Many other Yellow spider orchids were found along the way . Some may be other species so again please correct me if I am incorrect with my identification.

A non spider orchid was finally found. The bright yellow Cowslip orchid is found, however only the one. Heading downhill, back towards the Triton a Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera) yet to fully open is located.

Then a lone donkey orchid is found. It was nearly missed as it is so small. The Wild Orchid Watch colour/size card and 5 cent piece are used for size appreciation. Also measured the height of the orchid, which was 150mm. The reflexed dorsal sepal , prominently crossed lateral sepals and lateral lobes much smaller than the mid lobe of the labellum are distinctive features that unfortunately do not assist in identifying this little orchid..

Back at the Triton we sit down and have a bite to eat before moving east towards Three Springs. On the way we skirt into Dookanooka Nature Reserve, but no orchids were spied from the Triton so we just keeping driving. As we do not need to stop, we drive straight through Three Springs, but then decide to check out the Talc mine. This mine is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and 2nd most productive in the world.

Time keeps slipping away as as it is now after 3pm we make tracks for our planned overnight stay. Passing through Perenjori we head south to the Perenjori-Rothsay Road where we pull over to ring up and book our campsite at Charles Darwin Reserve. Unfortunately we are unable to book a site without an EPIRB, Satellite Phone or HF Radio. Now what will we do, as this was a planned stop for a couple of nights. Checking the good old Hema Map book, we find a camping ground only 14kms south called Caron Dam Reserve, so off we head.

The camping ground is very sparse, with little shade so we park up close to the dam and set up the camper. It may prove a noisy night as we are only 100 metres or so off the Mullewa-Wubin Road. Now time to go exploring this historic site. First up we discover a spent spider orchid then a great patch of donkey orchids. The spider orchid appears to be the Perenjori spider orchid (Caladenia remota subsp. parva) which flowers from August to mid-September in a limited range from Wubin to Perenjori. The main feature that should confirm the identification are petals being back-swept and elevated basally. Further specimens are found including those with petals barely elevated basally. These may be another species.

The group of donkey orchids appear to be Pale donkey orchids (Diuris pallescens) which flower late-August to late-September between Moora and Mingenew. Reference to Atlas of Living Australia though indicate sightings south of Perenjori which agrees with my classification. Distinctive features include erect petals, recurved apex to dorsal sepal and prominently reflexed lateral sepals which are crossed.

We make our way around the dam and head off up the feeder drain. It is in the drain that Deb comes across a snail orchid. This is the first Pterostylis orchid in quite a while. This one plus others found later appear to be the common Hairy-stemmed snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘inland’) which is found over a vast area from Kalbarri to Balladonia and also in NSW and SA.

Another new species for the day was found on the plains surrounding the feeder drain. A Candy orchid (Caladenia hirta subsp. hirta) is growing under a tree. These little orchids grow during the period, late-August to early November, over a near coastal range from Arrowsmith to Albany. Creamy-white colouring with no hint of pink confirms this classification as the other WA subspecies, Rosea, is coloured pale to deep pink.

Making our way back to camp we come across more snail, spider, donkey and candy orchids. Grabbed some pics but feel no new species were found.

Back at camp some neighbouring campers invited us to share their fire, so we enjoyed a night with company and went to bed knowing that even though our plans were thrown into disarray we still had a awesome day in the great outdoors exploring for orchids. At least 14 species/sub-species found which is wonderful.

2019 Road Trip – Margaret River to Bedfordale

Numerous days, Road Trip


Having a lazy morning we check out at 10am. Catching up with Alice a friend from Esperance, who now lives in Margaret River is our plan for this morning. She works at Jarvis Estate where we will do some more tastings. However prior to arriving we pull over into the power line clearing off Osmington Road for a quick scout.

In the bush between the power lines and Bussell Hwy I find many snail orchids. Karri snail orchids (Pterostylis karri) seem to be the species. On specimen found is 250mm in height. these orchids flower August to early December in locations between Margaret River and Walpole. Long thin lateral sepals and pointed dorsal sepal seem to confirm this identification. Some leaves appear crinkled so initially thought them to be Slender snail orchids.

Deb is searching on the other side of the power lines and calls me over as she has found some Midge orchids (Cyrtostylis huegelii).

Also on her side were some snail orchids, however these ones appear to be Red-sepaled snail orchids (Pterostylis erubescens) due to the red colouring.

Couple of snail orchids found with one appearing to be a Karri snail orchid but the other may be an early Red-sepaled snail . Length and thickness of lateral sepals seem to indicate they are different species.

Its nearly 11am so we made tracks to Jarvis Estate to catch up with Alice. This was her last few days at the estate as she has changed jobs, so we were privileged to have a private cellar door, which included having a taste direct from the barrel. As has become the norm we left with a few purchases. Forgot to take any photos which is not good, but we did have a great time catching up with Alice.

Heading west, then south we venture onto Mowen Road to go further west to Sues Road. Here we turn north and follow it all the way to Bussell Hwy then turn left to travel towards Bunbury. We plan to visit Manea Park (Mud Map SW 5) in College Grove. Pulling off the road at the round-a-bout we park up and make our way to the walk trail entrance.

After checking out the map we head off on the trail for the 2.3km walk. First up we find some snail orchids. Unable to identify the species though.