In moss beds on Christmas Rock. Also grows on sand, peaty sandy clay, in coastal swamps and sandhills, and winter-wet areas.
Leek Orchids get their name from the hollow leaves, and vary in size of this one, up to the King Leek Orchid, which can be 1.5 meters tall. Most of the other 25 species require a hot burn to trigger flowering, but the Little Leek is an exception. Found in much of the SW, but in the drier parts of the state limited to areas that get extra water - such as granite outcrops like Christmas Rock.
Leek Orchid flowers are strongly scented, and resemble and come out at the same time as the Grass Trees flower - they may be mimicking the grass trees, but I’m not sure what benefit they’d derive from doing so, other that perhaps attracting pollinators that expect a rich feed, and then don’t get one.
AKA Rabbit-eared Sun Orchid, or Vanilla orchid. These ones, at Christmas Rock and in a small patch on top of Dingo Rock, hadn’t opened fully, although Sun Orchids are supposed to even in cool weather. On the other hand, it was unusually cold weather for the time of year.
The species occurs in the South–West and Eremaean botanical provinces of Western Australia, in South Australia, Victoria, and small areas of Tasmania where it’s classified as an endangered species. Over here it’s widespread and common, growing in many habitats including shrub, heath and mallee. It sometimes forms dense, extensive colonies that spread from tubers at the end of the stolon-like roots. It flowers freely, especially after fire like so many Australian orchids.
A small Donkey Orchid that grows between Perth and Kalbarri, distinguished by its small size and strongly recurved sepals. We were initially quite puzzled by these, and suspected the poor weather this season had somehow stunted and deformed a more ordinary Diuris. We found them growing under shrubs and hop-bushes at Christmas and Dingo Rocks.
AKA Ant Orchid, Jack-in-the-Box, and Man Orchid. A fairly small West Australian orchid with yellowish or greenish lateral sepals and petals with a reddish band down the center - the clown pants of the name. The labellum or lip is broad and greenish with reddish black bumps or warts (calli) down the center that supposedly resemble ants, which give it another common name. Flowers, each about 3cm across, are borne on straight stems about 30 cm tall, from August to September. The leaves are narrow, hairy, and grass-like.
Reynoldson Flora Reserve, near Wongan Hills
A tuberous perennial orchid up to a foot high. The flowers have a strong putrid odour, so flies are most likely the pollinators. The plants have three colour forms, flowering in combinations of yellow, white, pink and red, with the flowers appearingin September and October. Quite forgiving in what soil it will grow in, including laterite, clay, loam, and deep sand. But it does prefer wetter areas -winter-wet flats, river banks, and creeklines.
This one was growing beside the road at Christmas Rock Reserve, Wongan Hills