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Caladenia alata R.Br.
Family Orchidaceae
Common name: Fairy Orchid

Caladenia alata R.Br. APNI*

Synonyms: Petalochilus alatus (R.Br.) D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. APNI*

Description: Terrestrial herb.

Leaf linear to 6 cm long and 3 mm wide, sparsely hairy.

Inflorescence to 10 cm high, rarely > 2-flowered. Flowers short-lived. Sepals and lateral petals 0.3–0.7 cm long, white or pink, with narrowing sharp tips that are distinctly falcate; dorsal sepal held erect, equal in length or 2 mm shorter than lateral sepals. Labellum ± kidney-shaped, to c. 5 long and wide, 3-lobed, with purple, basal bands and a yellow-orange tip; lateral lobes entire with purple bands; midlobe margins flanked on either side by a prominent, yellowish tooth, margins entire towards tip. Central calli in 2 rows with smooth stalks and clubbed, yellow heads becoming shorter towards midlobe base.

Photo W. Cherry

Other photo
Photo W. Cherry

Flowering: September–October

Distribution and occurrence: Grows in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland in moist sites, often at edge of sandstone outcrops, but also in swamps and near lakes.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC, ?NT, CT
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas.
AVH map***

Previously confused with C. aurantiaca (R.S.Rogers) Rupp but the latter species is native of Vic. and Tas. and has no bands on the labellum. Distribution details in N.S.W. remain incomplete as the plants are small and ephemeral.

Text by P. Bernhardt
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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