13/08/2021 ….. Esperance to the Jam Patch, Nth Lake Grace

Esperance, Nature Reserves, South Buniche NR, Western Australian Orchids, Wind Farm

Day one of our annual road trip. This time however we are travelling with a larger group and are heading up into the Pilbara, where orchids are not located, so I will be recording only the days which include finding orchids. We leave home at 7.45am and head up to West Beach to say goodbye to our grandkids, then as we are over that way we call into the Wind Farm for a quick gander.

Here we find the Mosquito orchid (Cyrtostylis robusta), Curled-tongue shell orchid (Pterostylis rogersii) and Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia). Deb grabs some quick snaps before we head off west towards Munglinup.

Deb drops me off at the cleared block near the Munglinup Roadhouse, whilst she goes to the toilet. Walking back to meet her I find some donkey orchids in flower. From my knowledge or the area they are either Green Range donkey orchids (Diuris littoralis) or South coast donkey orchids (Diuris brockmanii) which have very similar features and distribution.

From here we head to Ravensthorpe then north to Lake King, where we have a tavern lunch. With full bellies we head west toward Lake Grace. However along the way we look into the verge at South Buniche Nature Reserve. Here we locate 3 different species in the Pterostylis genre. First up is the common Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) followed by some snail orchids. These little guys could possibly be two different species due to their colouring and rosettes. The final orchid is the unique Frog greenhood (Pterostylis sargentii).

We now move onto our planned overnight stay, the Jam Patch, in North Lake Grace. We expected other campers to be here, however we lucked into being all alone. Before setting up camp fully we venture off on the Red loop walk trail in search of orchids. Hairy-stemmed snail orchids (Pterostylis setulosa) are the first orchid to be found.

At the edge of a flat granite rock I was lucky enough to stumble across some spider orchids. From the location alongside a granite rock I will take a stab and name these the Chameleon spider orchid (Caladenia dimidia) which occurs between Paynes Find and Norseman during July to September.

It was great to find some spider orchids as it was looking like a Pterostylis type of day. We kept walking the trail and came to the lake which provided great reflection shots and is where the featured image was taken. The only other orchids found though were a great bunch of more Hairy-stemmed snail orchids. So I have posted a photo just to show the number of orchids in such a small location. Also posted a pic of our camp for the night. Was a nice day to start our road trip. Not as many orchid stops as usual, but this trip we are travelling much larger distances.

25/07/2021 ….. First Spider Orchids of the season

Day Trip, Esperance, Helms Arboretum, Western Australian Orchids

Planned family picnic cancelled, so we took the opportunity to go for a Sunday drive. Time to check the local area to see if we could find anything special. We headed west first, with a roadside stop producing only Caladenia leaves. We then pulled over for another roadside stop on the Gibson-Dalyup road, which proved more successful.

A donkey orchid catches my eye, then Deb notices I had walked past 2 plants to get to my find. Typical of me to miss ones that Deb then finds. Oh well, a find is a find. The orchid appears to be the Green Range donkey orchid (Diuris littoralis) which occurs between Denmark and Esperance and flowers from July to September. Leaves of other species located but nothing yet in flower or already past their time.

We now move on to Gibson to see it we find anything new. Once we reach the track off Walker Road we chug along in 1st whilst hanging out the window looking for anything. I spy a nice big Caladenia leaf so pull over to go for an explore. Before that though I make coffees from the thermos. Deb finds a couple of Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) which we found here on a previous visit, however took some photos to record it nevertheless. Another Pterostylis orchid found however not fully open. The Jug orchid (Pterostylis recurva) will be a common sight soon enough.

Slightly disappointed with our luck so far today, so we move on to our Crawford Road location. Again we appear to be too early as we find many orchid leaves, with some in bud. So where to go now? Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE 35) of course. Surely we will find something in flower there.

We decide to mix it up and turn down a track in the arboretum we had not checked out before. This lead us nowhere that seemed likely to produce orchids so we found our way back to known territory. First up though, we head to a sunny spot to have lunch. Curried egg sandwiches eaten whilst checking out nearby spots. Deb finds so many budding spider orchids in a spot we had not really checked before, so we now know where to check out later in the season.

Moving on we head to the location where we have previously found Western tiny blue orchids. Deb drops me off to walk through the plot, whilst she drives around the boundary. I find some what I believe to be Banded greenhoods (Pterostylis vittata) however one of them is quite dark so am not so sure. Could be Dark banded greenhoods or Mallee Banded greenhoods. Thoughts welcome on the ID. No tiny blues found as they are listed as flowering from August, so again we must be too early. EDIT: I have been advised by a knowledgeable person the green orchid is a Dark banded greenhood (Pterostylis sanguinea) (green form) due to opaque lateral sepals without stripes, compared to the earlier greenhood found. Also confirms Mallee banded greenhood (Pterostylis arbuscula) for the darker greenhood. Thanks MP

Back on the main road into the arboretum Deb spies a small flowering spider orchid blowing in the strong winds. Very difficult conditions to try and get a good photo to assist with identification. I will provide two options. Either Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) or Common spider orchid (Caladenia varians) as both flower early in July and extend into the Esperance area. What are your thoughts? EDIT: C. microchila has been identified by a knowledgeable person. Thanks MP.

Then it was time to check out the plot where we find our king spider orchids. Deb as usual finds the first one in flower. The Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) as the name suggests is found around Esperance. It actually ranges between Bremer Bay and Cape Arid and inland to Scaddan. It is said to flower from August to October so the few orchids we found today must be some early bloomers.

We then move on to the plot where we find snail orchids in most years. This time is no exception. The snail orchids grow from quite a large rosette of leaves, have 2 or 3 stem leaves on a smooth stem and uniformly thick lateral sepals. I have been advised by a knowledgeable person from the WA Native Orchid Facebook group that they are most likely the yet unnamed Helms snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Helms’). Also found some spider orchids in bud.

It’s now 2 pm so we make tracks for home as Deb commences her shift at 4 pm. Was not expecting to find 2 species of Spider orchids in flower so it turned out to be a great Sunday exploration.

30/08/2020 ….. Hamersley Inlet to Home (Road Trip 2020)

Fitzgerald River NP, Munglinup NR, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

We awake to a cold morning however the sun is shining so it will be a great last day of our 2020 Road Trip. First up we check out the spider orchid we found in the fading light yesterday.

Hamersley Inlet

Western wispy spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Camper packed up and time to move on. We get as far as 4 Mile Beach campground before we stop and have a scout around. We only find a few Pterostylis orchids.

4 Mile Beach

Ravensthorpe snail orchid or Coastal snail orchid

(Pterostylis grossa or P. sp. “coastal snail”)

We head into Hopetoun for a bite to eat. Our next point of call is just north of the South Coast Hwy, and is a favourite of ours. We again find a few orchids for our troubles.

Mills Road

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Small mantis orchid

(Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima)

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

3 orchid species and a hybrid is not a bad haul, however we must keep moving towards home. First up though we stop at the Munglinup Roadhouse for a burger lunch. Driving in we discover some orchids on the roadside, so I jump out to get some photos and Deb heads down to order lunch.

Munglinup Townsite

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Lunch purchased, we move on to Munglinup Nature Reserve to eat and explore.

Zebra orchid

(Caladenia cairnsiana)

Cowslip orchid

(Caladenia flava subsp. flava)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

(Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Five species found, so happy we made to time to explore the area. We now move on to revisit a location we checked out on Day 1 of this road trip. Lets see if there is anything different now flowering.

Springdale Nature Reserve

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Red beaks

(Pyrorchis nigricans)

?? donkey orchid

(Diuris sp.)

??? hybrid spider orchid

(Caladenia x sp.)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Common bee orchid

(Diuris decrementa)

Esperance white spider orchid

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa)

Pink bunny orchid

(Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Esperance king spider orchid

(Caladenia decora)

Since it is after 3 pm and we still have more than 100kms to home, we decide to leave our orchid exploration at this fruitful location. The hour long drive was a great time to look back on our awesome road trip that started back on the 8th August. The Wheatbelt Way was a great loop that opened up the amazing Western Australian countryside.

Over the 3 weeks on the road we discovered many new locations as well as re-visiting favourite spots. So many orchid species were located along with numerous hybrids which was a pleasant surprise.

08/08/2020 ….. Esperance to Corrigin (Road Trip 2020)

Nature Reserves, Overshot Hill NR, Pallarup NR, Road Trip, Springdale NR, Western Australian Orchids

Leaving Esperance at just after 7am we are finally on our way. This year I will be listing the orchids found at each stop on our journey. I will group the photos of a particular orchid together rather than post them in chronological order. If needed a little narrative about the trip may be added to a location based on anything that occurred on the way to it, during the visit itself or is planned after. Please provide me any feedback on this structure as I am open to suggestions how I can improve the blog or spice it up a bit… Thanks!!

Springdale Nature Reserve

This Nature Reserve was burnt out last summer and has proven this season to be successful in providing excellent orchid finds. Today is no exception.

Pink bunny orchid (Eriochilus scaber subsp. scaber)

Green Range donkey orchid

(Diuris littoralis)

Blue beard , Blue fairy orchid

(Pheladenia deformis)

Little pink fairy, Dwarf pink fairy

(Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans)

Reaching spider orchid

(Caladenia arrecta)

Mills Road verge

Turning into Mills road off the South Coast Hwy, west of Munglinup, we stop at one of our regular road verge stops. To our dismay the area had been graded so the usual orchid habitat was destroyed. Luckily some orchids seem to like disturbed ground, whilst other areas had missed the destruction.

Cream spider orchid

(Caladenia horistes)

Green Range donkey orchid

(Diuris littoralis)

Mallee banded greenhood

(Pterostylis arbuscula)



Overshot Hill Nature Reserve

Parking at the free overnight camping area we venture into the creekline to look for the orchids we had found here previously. Again we were not disappointed. Of particular interest were the dual flowered and green coloured Dwarf shell orchids.

Dwarf shell orchid

(Pterostylis brevichila)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)



Pallarup Nature Reserve

Another of our favourite spots, which always seems to have some orchids in flower.

Hairy-stemmed snail orchid

(Pterostylis setulosa

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Pink candy orchid

(Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea)

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonella saccharata)

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

(Pterostylis recurva)

Western wheatbelt donkey orchid

(Diuris brachyscapa)

Mallee banded greenhood

(Pterostylis arbuscula)



Varley

This is only our 2nd visit to this location and I’m glad we made the effort. So many spider orchids with some others thrown in for good measure.

Sugar orchid

(Ericksonela saccharata)

Midget greenhood

(Pterostylis mutica)

Blue beard

(Pheladenia deformis)

Jug orchid

(Pterostylis recurva)

Hairy-stemmed snail orchids

(Pterostylis setulosa)

Western wispy spider orchid, Small-lipped spider orchid

(Caladenia microchila)

Chameleon spider orchid

(Caladenia dimidia)

Joseph’s spider orchid

(Caladenia polychroma)



Gorge Rock Picnic Area

Leaving Varley just after 3.15pm we make tracks for Gorge Rock, 14 kms east of Corrigin, for our overnight stay. Soup and toast for dinner then a well earned rest.


17 different orchid species found today, not too shabby.

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.