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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Monday, 20 September 2021

Hunting for wild orchids - Western Australian wheatbelt

 Hi everyone, I hope you and yours are safe and well.

It is spring and wild orchid time here in the south west of Western Australia. I've blogged about wild orchids before...Here is one... Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid west ... more links at the end of this post. 

So as you can see I love wild orchids. Many are shy and tiny and hide under bushes or logs, so you need to look carefully to find them. Some of their colours also blend in to their surrounds, particularly the green ones. 

Our orchid hunting this year started back in mid August as we were making our way south through the mid west and wheatbelt after being in the north west of Western Australia for 6 weeks. The wildflowers have been spectacular throughout Western Australia this year, but more about them another time..... 

Our first orchid find was in the Wilroy Nature Reserve, about 18 kilometres south of Mullewa. These little snail orchids were hiding under a tree not far from the carpark. There are several varieties of snail orchid - Pterostylis - all very similar, so I can't identify which variety this is. They tend to grow in colonies like this one. 


Continuing south our next orchid find was at our campsite at Bunjil Rocks about 25kms south of Perenjori. We have camped here before and it is always a nice quiet camp off the highway.  
Granite rocks in the wheatbelt are always a good place to look for orchids around the edges of the rock, and also in the little rock gardens formed on depressions on the rock. We were devastated to see the influx of weeds at this camp and the damage done to the trees by tropical Cyclone Seroja in April this year. 

We had seen Little laughing leak orchids - Prasophyllum gracile - here for the first time last time we camped here and knew where to look in one of the rock gardens. These orchids are tiny and really blend into their environment. 


We had also seen Lemon Scented Sun Orchids - Thelymitra antennifera - here before, but never in numbers like this clustered under a tree at the base of a rock - glorious! Also known as the Vanilla Orchid, this is one of my favourites. I love their little faces. This orchid is very common and opens with the sun and likes wet area around granite rocks. On a cloudy day or early in the morning they will most likely be closed up. 


Our next stop heading south was Mia Moon Reserve, 17kms west of Wubin. This is a flat rock area which we had visited several years ago. Here we saw again the Lemon Scented Sun orchids and the Little Laughing Leek orchids, but also the Bee Orchid - Diuris laxiflora. It was nice to be able to show some other visitors these orchids. 


We now headed slightly east further into the wheatbelt and stopped at Xantippe Tank. Built between 1923 and 1927 this is similar to 11 other tanks throughout the wheatbelt. The water is channelled into the tank via a series of rock walls near the base of the rock and constructed with pieces of the rock itself. Here we saw donkey orchids and again the little laughing leek orchid. For an orchid we had only seen for the first time last year, we were certainly seeing a lot of them! Perhaps we just know what to look for now. 


We had lunch in Kalanie and noticed the the sky was progressively looking darker - rain clouds were approaching. We were keen to get to our next destination - the old Kwolyin townsite camp about 37kms east of Quairading. We had also camped here a couple of times before and were happy the rain had cleared by the time we got there - although the mosquitoes were in full force! 

However a little later we were able to have a campfire and cook the last of our marshmallows. 

Next morning we took a walk around camp and over the rock behind the campsite.  Below you can see donkey orchids (there are many varieties), the lemon scented sun orchid (not open), and the Clown Orchid - Caladenia roei - also known as the ant orchid or jack-in-the-box orchid. I love his little stripy pants We had only seen this orchid a couple of times before, and not in these numbers, so he was a very exciting find. 



We were now only 41km to our final destination before home for our trip - Bruce Rock - where my sister's family farm. It was lovely to catch up with family, especially my two cousins who were part way through a driving trip from Tasmania. The canola and lupin crops were looking fantastic. 

While we were there we went out to Bruce's Rock and the old rifle range with my sister and cousin to look for orchids. My cousin from Tasmania had never been orchid hunting before. 

At Bruce's rock we saw....yes...you guessed it... Lemon Scented Sun Orchids and Little Laughing Leek Orchids. This laughing leek was more brown in colour than the greener varieties we had seen before. There are actually around 25 species of leek orchids in Western Australia - orchidswa.com.au/prasophyllum-leek-orchids/


We then went out to the old Bruce Rock rifle range. I had been told by a lovely lady in the Bruce Rock CRC (Community Resource Centre) that orchids were starting out there. It is quite a large area of bush and we wandered around out there for quite a while. 

We found donkey orchids, spider orchids and blue fairy - Pheladenia deformis - orchids. I won't even try to identify the variety of donkey and spider orchid - there are many many varieties. 


As you can see in this pic below many of our wild orchids are tiny....


There are acres of everlastings and many other wildflowers along the road verges and through the bush in the wheatbelt this time of year, drawing tourists into the wheatbelt. But more about them another time.


The next day we headed 4 hours to home. We have just started seeing orchids around our area. I'll be back with some of those another time. 

I hope you have enjoyed this little look at some of the wild orchids found in the Western Australian wheatbelt. There are many more which you can find if you know where to look and are able to travel out to the wheatbelt during orchid time. Around the base of granite rocks and in their 'rock gardens" is a great place to look. I think we were a little early to see many varieties. September would have been better. 


 A good orchid identification resource is helpful like these two: 
Orchids WA

WA Native Orchid Study & Conservation Group

You might also like some of my previous posts:

Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid west - September 2017

Down in the woods today - hunting for wild orchids - September 2018

Hunting for wild orchids - Dunsborough - September 2019

Orchids in the Stirling Ranges National Park -  September 2020

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 


Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

13 comments:

  1. Love the captures of the different orchids.
    Happy MosaicMonday

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  2. You do have some of the most beautiful plants and flowers. You will like my post today. The little flower I'm showing looks a lot like a tiny orchid. Love your photos!

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  3. What neat varieties of orchids; I don't think I had heard of any of these.

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  4. I have never seen orchids like that. So unique. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. we do have very unique orchids and wildflowers over here in Australia, particularly Western Australia! Lucky me!

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  5. Oh Jill, I look forward to your orchid posts every year! We don't have nearly as many varieties as you, but I have also learned from experience that you have to slow down and truly look for them. Which doesn't happen often on our hikes!!! My favorites from this post are the Lemon Scented Sun Orchid and the Jack in the Box - so aptly named! I am sure everyone at Mosaic Monday will love these photos!

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    1. yes slowing down is the key. I often find it frustrating when we can't stop by the roadside and look when I want to. Oh well. At least we can get out and about!

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  6. Hello to you from the land of orchids! I love the wild orchids of Australia they are so delicate and I love the description of them as shy. Happy orchid hunting.
    Wren x

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    1. We certainly have very different orchids than the Asian varieties - ours are shy - yours are flamboyant and look at me!

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  7. I am amazed how many different varieties you found and photographed. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous flowers.

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    1. only a small number of the many many wild orchids in Western Australia's south west.

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  8. The middle photo in your mosaic in the bottom row reminds me of a cowboy wearing a Texas hat!
    Thank you for these lovely photos. So glad you shared at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/09/in-abstract.html

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  9. Your flowers and scenery never cease to amaze me!

    Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.