Wine-lipped Spider-orchid Arachnorchis oenochila

syn. Caladenia oenochila
In 2002 this was the first and only I had found of this Spider orchid species. It was right next to the path in Baluk Willam Flora Reserve. Having such inconspicuous leaves it would be generally hard to spot amongst the grass. It was also the first "find" coming to this reserve. Unfortunately being the only flower in 2002 it did not set seed and in 2003 it did not flower.

Thanks to Anthony Nimbs of Parks Victoria for help with its identification. A few sources from the web list this orchid from vulnerable to critically endangered. Some references also call this Caladenia lindleyana (Lindley's Spider orchid) or Red-Lipped orchid so I'm not quite sure which is correct. A similar orchid is the rare Caladenia leptoclavia.

In the spring of 2003 I returned and found many of these orchids around the park. With so many it was possible to see a fair bit of variation in color, some had very dark red "lips" (labellum) while for others it was quite pale. The rows of calli were always red and so were the "combs".

Flowering Time Flower Numbers Maximum Height Flower Size
September and October
1 to 2 flowers 48cm to top of dorsal petal sepals and petals to 55mm long/high

Spider Orchid in 2002
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Lightly colored with red
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Rear view
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Two red-lipped orchids
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Spiders in the sunshine
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Red labellum less curved
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Pale labellum
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5 flowers, 3 plants
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Top view with bud
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Fly having a feed
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