There aren’t many orchids around the Ravensthorpe/Esperance area though there are a lot of Sun orchids. I spent 2 days in Helm’s arboretum and saw many thousands of blue sun orchids, now according to the orchid book there are only 9 different species of blue sun orchids in W.A. and perhaps only 2 species which could possibly be where I was, but the variety I found in both colour and form across the arboretum was stunning.
As the orchids have petered out traveling further east I’ve started looking at other plants and flowers. This image above may look like a boring little everlasting type flower but it’s when you look closer at numerous individual flowers and think about them, study them, that it starts to get interesting. This flower is like a little multi rocket launcher, rocket tubes opening up from the centre and the individual flowers begin to unfurl twisting their way up out of their launch tubes.
Starting to get towards the end of my orchid adventures for 2021. As I’ve moved further east the orchids have been thinning out and they are getting harder to find in these lower rainfall areas. I still have quite a few photos from the last week or two to post though here I’m going to concentrate on clowns, Caladenia roei.
The lazy spider orchid or Caladenia multiclavia, perhaps my favourite of all the orchids I’ve seen so far. I’m not sure why they call it lazy, I guess because of it’s reclined pose. I found lots of these in the area from Jerramungup through to Ravensthorpe, almost anywhere that there was some tree cover especially sheoaks was worth a look.
These king-in-a-carriage orchids reminded me of a pair of dancing Brolgas. Ok bird experts, perhaps not brolgas, though the photo certainly has an “Awwww” feel about it. This post is a pictorial of hammer and duck orchids, some were found in the Stirling Ranges while most came from a secret little location south of Mount Barker.
Yes this is a strange looking thing, exactly the same orchid as the previous posts first picture, a crab lipped spider orchid but with a genetic defect called hyperchromic or lutea, where the genes for colour are turned off and the only things showing are whites, greens and yellow. Essentially what we might call an albino. I’d found some magnificent spider orchids that had the same genetic condition, very impressive specimens and I kept going back to them over and over.
What sort of crazy alien thing is this? It’s a crab lipped spider orchid (Caladenia plicata), truly one of the weirdest flower I’ve seen in a long time. This year is shaping up to be a fantastic season for orchids and I’ve already done a trip out and around Albany and up to the Stirling Ranges where I’ve found lots of orchid variety including one of the most prized finds for orchid hunters….
You may be wondering what this is, it’s a flying duck orchid of the Paracaleana genus of orchids which rely on mimicking wasp species for fertilization. The big warty “head” of this duck orchid looks like the female of a wasp species, an unsuspecting male wasp flies down and tries to literally pick up what he believes to be a female, the warty head flicks around swinging him under to the business part of the flower, to pollinate it or collect pollen to spread to the next flower he tries to “pick up”.