Helms Arboretum – We did miss you !!

25/09/2017

After a weekend of fishing we head out to Helms Arboretum (Mud Map SE35) on a long weekend Monday, to see what has changed whilst we were away on our Road Trip. First up are the usual suspects : Common bee orchids (Diuris decrementa), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp flava), Lemon-scented sun orchid (Thelymitra antennifera), Purple enamel orchid (Elythranthera brunonis) and Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora)

These guys were all found prior to our Road Trip as well, so the search now is for anything new. Well we are not disappointed, as we find a patch with many White spider orchids. Some appear to be the Rigid white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula) as the petals and lateral sepals are stiffly spread. One had white fringe segments and the other red, same with the calli. This orchid is found between Ravensthorpe and Israelite Bay from August to early October.

Other white spider orchids were found which seem to be another species or subspecies. Some appear to be the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which flowers August to early October as well, but ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid. The flowers are larger with broader petals and sepals.

The other appears to be the Reclining spider orchid (Caladenia cruscula) due to its short labellum and short petals and lateral sepals. This one flowers August to September and ranges between Salmon Gums and Mt Ragged. So we are a bit south of this range

With so many variables and possibilities my naming of the above orchids is quite likely incorrect, so please let me know your thoughts. However the next orchid is more recognisable. The Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) can only be confused with the Dwarf Zebra orchid which is found in inland areas and has a incurved dorsal sepal.

Final orchids found were more Cowslip orchids in good numbers. Some pics taken then off we go to have our big catch of fish weighed.

This was our final orchid adventure of the 2017 West Australian orchid season.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures as much as we enjoyed having them. 2018 will prove a more challenging year as we move into our newly built home in April/May.  So we will be busy painting, putting up fences, laying lawn, landscaping and numerous other tasks. This will reduce the hours available for Orchid Adventures, so we will see how the new year progresses. Until then take care.

Last Hoorah of our Holidays

22/09/2017

As we came home early from our Road Trip we had to finish our holidays with a final orchid hunt. What better place to check out than Boyatup Hill (Mud Map SE40) . Like Helms Arboretum, Boyatup never disappoints. Arriving at 10am we immediately go exploring for orchids. Our first orchid is the Purple enamel orchid ( Elythranthera brunonis).  Closely followed by the small Diuris orchid, from the Bee orchid complex. From the habitat found and the small stature of the plants they appear to be the Common bee orchid (Diuris decrementa).

In close proximity we come across a Red beak (Pyrorchis nigricans), Cowslip orchids (Caladenia flava subsp. flava), more Purple enamel orchids and Common bee orchids.

Then prior to hopping back in the Triton we find some Lemon-scented sun orchids (Thelymitra antennifera) and what appears to be an Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora) nearing the end of it’s season.

 We now pass through the gravel pit and head up the track to a spot that allows us to turn around, where we get out have morning tea, then head on up the overgrown track on foot,  towards the granite outcrop. Along this overgrown track we find some Pink candy orchids (Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea), more Cowslip orchids and Esperance king spider orchids, plus some of the small, Zebra orchids (Caladenia cairnsiana).

As mentioned Boyatup is a great location and as proof we have already found 8 varieties in the first half hour of looking. What will a few hours bring? We can’t wait to find out.

Next orchid found was a Pointing spider orchid (Caladenia exstans) which is only found between Esperance and Israelite Bay from September to early November.

More yellow spied. Cowslips and Lemon-scented sun orchids found.

Then to our surprise we find a Beautiful donkey orchid (Diuris pulchella), very near it’s season end, but still showing off it’s mauve colouring.

The further along we walk the more we find. More Zebra, Cowslip, Pink Candy, Pointing spider and Beautiful donkey orchids, then something new for the day. We break out of the overgrown track onto an open, damp, low granite rock space about the size of a soccer pitch and find a Blue china orchid (Cyanicula gemmata ), but exact identification is uncertain as 3 different species can be found in this location.

Next orchids found were a small grouping of a Caladenia hybrid. One parent is the Cowslip orchid but deciding the other was proving difficult. The other parent does not appear to be the usual Pink fairy orchids as the dorsal sepal hangs forward over the column, which is a feature of the Pink fans.  Reviewing the site esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au  and the Spider Orchids EBook 2018 it appears the other parent to be the Little pink fan orchid.  I would never have picked this due to the recorded location being  West of Bremer Bay. So in my research the EBook mentions a hybrid between these two orchids being photographed in Esperance and the Esperance wildflowers blog records finding the Little pink fan orchid within his 160km radius of Esperance. So I am recording these orchids as (Caladenia flava x Caladenia nana) an unnamed hybrid.

 Before leaving this open area we find our smallest orchid of the day. A Laughing leek orchid (Prasophyllum macrostachyum) which is found September through January in a range from Dongara to Cape le Grand. We are 50km East of this range however the flowers appear wider spaced, lateral sepals are shorter and dorsal sepal is wider, than the related Little laughing leek orchid, so I am happy with my classification.

The track becomes over grown again and we find a lone spider orchid. Appears to be a Western wispy spider orchid (Caladenia microchila) although this is far from certain

Then we come to the low prickly scrub which leads up to the Granite outcrop. Close to the base of the rock is a thick woodland but for now we are searching in thigh high bushes. Amazingly we find a Rattle Beak (Lyperanthus serratus) growing under one of the bushes bordering the track. Further along we find more Rattle beaks pushing through the prickly shrubs.

We don’t have time or inclination to bush bash to the granite rock so after a few more minutes finding further Purple enamel, Pointing spider, Esperance king spider and Zebra orchids we back track to the Triton and move on to another location closer to home, only just.

On a track named Bebenorin Rd we first come across what appeared to be another Esperance king spider orchid, but on closer inspection I believe it to be a Heberle’s spider orchid (Caladenia herberleana) due to the narrow clubbing of the lateral sepals. These flower September and October in a range from Augusta to Cape Arid which causes them to grow in the same area and at a similar time to the Esperance king spider orchid which makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

Close by we find some Dancing spider orchids (Caladenia discoidea) and more Cowslip orchids, this time with longer, thinner lateral sepals.

Another first for the day is the Common mignonette orchid (Microtis media) which flowers September through January and ranges from Shark Bay to Eyre, one of the largest ranges of the orchid family in WA.

Getting hungry so we head off to Thomas River for lunch, but not before taking a few more pics.

Just at the entrance to the National Park we find some more Rattle beaks, Lemon-scented sun orchids, Purple enamel orchids and Bee orchids, however only got good pics of the Rattle beaks.

We decide to have lunch at the top campground as they have undercover seating. First though we check out the beach and take a walk up the trail for a bit, looking for the patch of leaves we found months earlier. Nothing doing, so we head back to have lunch. On the track in, Deb spies some blue and we are lucky enough to find a solitary Coastal sun orchid (Thelymitra granitora) with a Lemon-scented sun orchid neighbour.

We park the Triton in one of the camping bays and quickly look around, finding  a Pointing spider orchid and a King spider orchid, species unknown due to it’s petals and lateral sepals being nibbled off.

After lunch we make our way to the Len Otte nature trail. At the base of the first rise we find a small Laughing leek orchid and further up a some Pink fairies (Caladenia latifolia) and  Common bee orchids.

Moving through a wooded part of the trail we find some Western wispy spider orchids, before coming out onto the next clearing. Here we get the fright of our life, with a big, black, curled up snake hiding in the low bushes. We keep to the track from now on, no bush bashing, so to speak.

Now to add to our day the heavens open up and it starts to rain. We try to hurry back but the I see another Blue sun orchid, which appears to be another Coastal sun orchid. Then just as the rain and wind picks up we find some Rabbit orchids (Leptoceras menziesii) in a new location for this nature trail. Photos with it raining and your lenses fogging up, is not an easy task.

Nearby Deb finds a lone Snail orchid. From location and the length of the lateral sepals I am naming it Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘ Ravensthorpe’), which is found from Stirling Ranges to Esperance, flowering August and September.

Still getting wet, but unperturbed, we still search whilst walking quickly back and find some more spider orchids and cowslip orchids.  No good photos though, due to rain and fogging lenses, so will not post them. Well this was quite a day of orchid hunting, as our holidays draw to an end. However we did finish on a high – 22 species found in just over 4hours of searching.

Caladenia – Spider orchids, dragon orchids, zebra orchids, candy orchids, fan orchids and fairy orchids.

A list of the orchids from the Caladenia Genus that I have been lucky enough to find.

Caladenia filamentosa complex (Wispy spider orchids) 

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 43 Western Australian species

  • A single, usually narrow, hairy leaf with in-curved margins.
  • Up to 3 flowers.
  • Most species have long wispy petals and lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with short, serrate or dentate fringe segments  and two rows of calli.

Caladenia chapmanii (Chapman’s spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia dimidia (Chameleon spider orchid) 11/08/2017

Caladenia erythronema (Red thread spider orchid) 20/09/2017

Caladenia filifera (Blood spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia footeana (Crimson spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia microchila (Western wispy spider orchid) 16/07/2017

Caladenia pendens (Pendant spider orchid) 01/09/2017

Caladenia paradoxa ( Ironcaps spider orchid) 20/09/2017

Caladenia vulgata (Common spider orchid) 16/07/2017

Caladenia xantha (Primrose spider orchid) 28/07/2015


Caladenia longicauda complex (White spider orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early December

There are 14 Western Australian species

  • Long hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • Up to 4  (rarely 5) predominately white flowers.
  • Long wispy, spreading to pendulous petals and lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with long fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa (Esperance white spider orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia longicauda subsp. rigidula (rigid white spider orchid) 26/09/2015

Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora (Southern white spider orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia huegelii complex (King spider orchid)

Flowering – August to December

There are 22 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • 1 to 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Most have shorter petals than lateral sepals.
  • Labellum with short to long, often thickened fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia decora (Esperance king spider orchid) 30/07/2017

Caladenia heberleana (Heberle’s spider orchid)


Caladenia longiclavata complex (Clubbed spider orchids)

Flowering – August to November

There are 6 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or in-curved margins.
  • 1 to 3 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Most also have clubbed petals.
  • Labellum with narrow fringe segments with pointed ends and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia arrecta (Reaching spider orchid) 31/07/2015


Caladenia falcata complex (Green spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early December

There are 9 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with flattened or slightly in-curved margins.
  • Up to 3, rarely 4 flowers with clubbed sepals.
  • Some have up-swept lateral sepals.
  • Four or more rows of labellum lamina calli.
  • Most have long labellum fringe segments with pointed tips

Caladenia attigens (Small mantis orchid) 13/09/2014

Caladenia falcata (Fringed mantis orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia exstans (Pointing spider orchid) 23/09/2017


Caladenia hoffmanii complex (Hoffman’s spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early February

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf which is flattened or has in-curved margins.
  • Up to 2 flowers.
  • Shortened petals and sepals.
  • Long, fine labellum fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia graminifolia (Grass-leafed spider orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia roei complex (Small spider orchids)

Flowering – August to early October

There are 7 Western Australian species

  • Hairy leaf that may be flattened or have in-curved margins.
  • Up to 2, rarely 3 flowers.
  • Shortened petals and sepals.
  • Large, rounded labellum with smooth margins and a dense central band of calli.

Caladenia brevisura (Short-sepaled spider orchid)

Caladenia doutchiae (Purple-veined spider orchid) 19/09/2017

Caladenia roei (Clown orchid, ant orchid, man orchid, jack-in-the-box) 02/09/2017


Caladenai cairnsiana complex (Zebra orchids)

Flowering – July to early November

There are 2 Western Australian species

  • Long, hairy leaf with slightly in-curved margins.
  • Petals and lateral sepals of similar length and both hang downwards.
  • Distinctly up-swept labellum with smooth margins, and glandular tip.
  • Dense central band of labellum lamina calli.

Caladenia cairnsiana (Zebra orchid) 27/08/2017

Caladenia pachychila (Dwarf zebra orchid) 27/08/2017


Caladenia barbarossa complex (Dragon orchids)

Flowering – August to mid November

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Relatively short, broad, green leaf. Often lies flat on the ground.
  • 1, rarely 2 flowers
  • Shortened petals and lateral sepals, down-swept to hanging.
  • Dorsal sepal often bend backwards.
  • Densely hairy labellum with a large gland at it’s highest point.

Caladenia barbarossa (Common dragon orchid)


Caladenia hirta complex (Candy orchids)

Flowering – Late June to early November

There is 1 Western Australian species, comprising 2 sub-species

  • Broad, flattened hairy leaf.
  • 1 to 3 (rarely to 6) white or pink flowers.
  • Short, spreading petals and sepals.
  • Narrow, upright labellum with short fringe segments and four or more rows of calli.

Caladenia hirta subsp. rosea (Pink candy orchid) 01/09/2017


Caladenia nana complex (Pink fans)

Flowering – Late September to November

There is 1 Western Australian species, comprising 2 sub-species.

  • Broad, hairy leaf.
  • Up to 3 (rarely to 5) usually pink flowers.
  • Petals and sepals form a fan-like arrangement.
  • Lateral sepals are united near the base.
  • Labellum with short fringe segments and calli confined near the base.


Caladenia latifolia complex (Fairy orchids, cowslip orchids)

Flowering – July to December

There are 4 Western Australian species

  • Colony forming habit.
  • Relatively, broad hairy leaf.
  • 1 to 4 (rarely to 6) pink, yellow or white flowers.
  • Short, stiffly spreading petals and sepals, lacking clubs.
  • Tri-lobed labellum with a raised plate near the base.
  • Calli extend from either  side of the plate.

Caladenia flava subsp. flava (Cowslip orchid) 13/08/2017

Caladenia flava subsp. maculata (Kalbarri cowslip orchid)

Caladenia latifolia (Pink fairies) 26/08/2017

Caladenia marginata (White fairy orchid)

Caladenia reptans subsp. reptans (Little pink fairy, dwarf pink fairy) 13/08/2017

Caladenia reptans subsp. impensa (Pale pink fairy)


Caladenia – mixed

Caladenia creba (Arrowsmith spider orchid)

Caladenia discoidea (Dancing spider orchid) 30/07/2017

Caladenia multiclavia (Lazy spider orchid)

Caladenia radialis (Drooping spider orchid) 19/9/2017

Caladenia wanosa (Kalbarri spider orchid)


Caladenia Hybrids

Caladenia x spectabilis (Spectacular spider orchid) 02/09/2017

Caladenia flava x C. reptans

Caladenia flava x C. nana 23/09/2017


 

Sunday search of Helms Arboretum

27/08/2017

Sunday morning fishing planned, however after a sleep-in we decide to head out to Helm’s Arboretum to check on the orchids instead. Our Southern Curly Locks is still yet to bloom so we resign ourselves to the fact we will miss it this season as we head out on our 3 week road trip in 3 days.

Next we check out the location we find our Western tiny blue orchids (Cyanicula aperta) and we were rewarded with both regular blue and some rarer white flowers.

In the adjoining plot I came across a first for me. A Grass-leafed spider orchid (Caladenia graminifolia) which flowers August to September and ranges from Mt Manypeaks to Israelite Bay. I thought is was a Green spider orchid however on checking my Orchid books it proved to be a Hoffman spider orchid due to the prominently clubbed sepals and petals plus the long thin fringe segments on the labellum.

Also in the same plot we located some Snail orchids and King spider orchids. I will go out on a limb and name the snail orchid as Ravensthorpe snail orchid (Pterostylis sp. ‘Ravensthorpe’) as they are found between Stirling Ranges and Esperance and flower August to September. The spider orchid is our local Esperance king spider orchid (Caladenia decora).

Moving along to another plot we locate some White spider orchids. I believe there are two subspecies of the Caladenia longicauda species found. First being the Esperance white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. crassa) which has short spreading petals and lateral sepals, flowers August to early September and ranges from Jerramungup to Cape Arid National Park. Second being the Southern white spider orchid (Caladenia longicauda subsp. australora) which has long pendulous petals and lateral sepals, flowers September to October and is found Millar’s Point to Fitzgerald River National Park. Slightly east of recorded location however it is the only White spider orchid that comes close to Esperance with long pendulous petals and sepals. The “Florabase” record 15359 includes the Esperance Local Government boundary and Esperance Plains region in it’s lists of locations, so I am confident with my classification.

 

We move onto another known location to find our little Zebra orchid (Caladenia cairnsiana) and we were not disappointed. These little fellows are found between Esperance and Lancelin and flower August to early November.

Close by the Zebra orchids were Dwarf zebra orchids (Caladenia pachychila) which are distinguished from their big brother by their petals and sepals not clasping the ovary. They still hang but do not clasp the stem.

Another find nearby was a very white White spider orchid. Unable to ID this one but it was big and beautiful.

Next we move to the snail hood plot to see what is still flowering. Our first find were some more Western tiny blue orchids and then we find the snail hood. Snail orchids of unknown identity due to wrinkled leaves.

Our last stop of the day was near the entrance to the reserve and we find the good old faithful Cowslip orchid (Caladenia flava subsp. flava). As usual Helm’s Arboretum didn’t let us down.

Cowslip orchids
Close neighbours