Caladenia flavaCommon name: Cowslip Orchid
Meaning of name: Caladenia is from the Greek words calos, meaning beautiful, and aden meaning gland. Some species of Caladenia have coloured glands at the base of the column. The column is an organ combining the stamens and style of the flower. Flava is from the Latin word flavus, meaning yellow.
Distribution: Widespread South of a line between Geraldton and Israelite Bay. It can be found in a variety of habitats and soil types.
Description: A small plant usually noticed when flowering. There can be up to four flowers on each flowering stem, which are produced from August to October. The flowering stem emerges from the ground and can be up to 25cm tall. The flowers are predominantly yellow with variable red markings.
Notes: A single hairy leaf emerges from the ground. The leaf can be up to 12cm long and approximately 1cm wide. The leaf can be identified as that of a Cowslip Orchid without the flower because of the purple markings on the underside.
Cowslip Orchids are clonal plants. A single plant produces clones, other plants, from its rhizome or rootstock. A clump produced this way will have similar characteristics of flower shape, size and markings. A neighbouring clump can have very different characteristics.
This plant can hybridise with Caladenia latifolia.
References: Western Australian Plant Names and their Meanings, a Glossary. FA Sharr. 1996.
Orchids of South-West Australia. Noel Hoffman & Andrew Brown. 1992.