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An orgy of orchids

This single clump had eleven stalks and eighteen spider orchids.

Spring in Western Australia’s southwest is the greatest wildflower show on earth.

All photos in this post were taken on September 16, 2016, within a few metres of one road, a little off the Stirling Range’s eastern end.

 

Blooming off Gnowellen Rd, early September 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Blooming off Gnowellen Rd, early September 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Both the above photos show the same clump of spider orchids.

Whatever time of year, on the sand plains around the Stirling Range some flowers are in bloom.

In Spring, their abundance and diversity are prodigious.

The current Spring is an especially good one.

Even if you were silly enough to drive along Gnowellen Road without stopping – or even slowing down – in September 2016 you would have had fleeting glimpses of literally thousands of spider orchids.

 

Spider orchids, early Sept 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Spider orchids, early Sept 2016. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

My beloved and I spent a couple of hours there, during which just one other car drove by.

A circa 70 minutes, mostly-sealed road drive from Albany, Gnowellen is unsealed, but a good, wide road – suitable for any vehicle.

It offers splendid views of the Stirling Range.

Eastern (Ellen Peak) end of Stirling Range, viewed from Gnowellen Rd.
Eastern (Ellen Peak) end of Stirling Range, viewed from Gnowellen Rd.

 

We saw umpteen thousand spider orchids, but just a single pair of this kind:

The only pair we saw of this particular species or variant.
The only pair we saw of this particular species or variant.

 

…and just a few examples of this petite and elegant orchid:

A tiny orchid, off Gnowellen Rd, early September, 2016.
A tiny orchid, off Gnowellen Rd, early September, 2016.

 

There were many other beautiful flowering plants…

Entwined, off Gnowellen Rd - blue Leschenaultia and what I think is a petite, prostrate grevillea. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Entwined, off Gnowellen Rd – blue Leschenaultia and what I think is a petite, prostrate grevillea. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

closer view, same species of petite, prostrate grevillea...I think.
closer view, same species of petite, prostrate grevillea…I think.

 

Red Leschenaultia and eucalypt leaves. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Red Leschenaultia and eucalypt leaves. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

 

Same red Leschenaultia, closer view.
Same red Leschenaultia, closer view.

 

…and lovely non-flowering things too:

Lichen, early September 2016, off Gnowellen Rd. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.
Lichen, early September 2016, off Gnowellen Rd. All photos copyright Doug Spencer.

Click here to learn about lichens.

Published in nature and travel photographs Western Australia

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