A group of visiting Field Naturalists discovered this Small Spider-orchid growing right next to some Sundew plants I had marked to show them. It was a bit embarrassing to have walked past it multiple times without even noticing it was there. Luckily I didn’t stand on it before the visitors arrived.
In appearance, the Small Spider-Orchid is similar to the Brown-Clubbed Spider-orchid. I’ve had to do some rapid reading to work out what the differences are. Mostly, this boils down to size (this one is approximately 15cm in height while the Brown Clubbed Spider-orchid grows to 25 cm in height) and the flowering period (this one flowers in September and the Brown-Clubbed Spider-orchid flowers in October). Funnily enough, both plants have clubs on the same sepals.
What is a club? The brown ends of the lateral sepals and the dorsal sepal are called clubs because they contain scent glands to attract pollinating insects. Some species of Spider-orchid have clubs on the two petals as well, while others have none.
Spider-orchid plants are pollinated by male wasps, tricked into thinking the flower is a female wasp.
The photographs below show the Small Spider-orchid in more detail.
6 thoughts on “Small Spider-orchid (Caladenia parva)”
Another species discovered! Your 15 acres is full of surprises. It’s a beauty too, and enjoyed reading the descriptive information and that it can trick it’s specialist pollinator.
Yes, it is amazing what is yet to be discovered. This was the 28th species of Australian Terrestrial Orchid found growing on our property and I believe there are more to be added. Some of these are in my ‘to be identified’ folder and fall into the category of many similar looking species which can only be distinguished by very minor characteristics. In relation to other species of plants, I think I have only really scratched the surface. Thanks for your interest in the plants I post about. 🙂
It’s certainly a little beauty.
Yes it is – or at least it was. It has finished flowering now. However, the Brown Clubbed Spider Orchid is now flowering. Pics soon! 🙂
Beautiful photos of a beautiful plant. Isn’t it wonderful to see such gorgeous wildflowers now that Spring is here! 🙂 Leah
Thank you! Today I was out scouting around for more wild flowers and I have found a few new ones to add to the blog. They always seem to appear just when I think there are going to be the same species as last year.