Each Spring (known as ‘Kambarang’ by the indigenous Noongar people) we gear-up: hiking boots, long pants, hat, sunnies, water – all the bare essentials for venturing along barely used walk trails in the search for extremely rare and highly elusive native orchids. Searching the Leeuwin-Naturaliste national park for the waves of colour splashed across the foliage, bright red veils from the Coral Vine, rich purples from the Hovea and Hardenbergia, pastel pinks from carpeting Rose Banjine and starbursts of yellow popping out from the greenery, lighting up the bush like fireworks against the night sky.
With the sun shining high, we pressed into the thickets. Being such a splendid day I foolishly adorned my trusty shorts; a great mistake as the prickly shark tooth Hakea threatened to scratch up my shins.
Looking around we could see plenty colour, but looking closer exposed the usual concentration of cool orchids, such as the brightly coloured yellow Cowslip, Pink Fairies, Donkey Orchids, but not the one we’re seeking … The Dunsborough Spider Orchid … declared rare flora and named after our hometown – a small but bustling resort town only a stones throw away. This secretive flower is beautifully elegant & hard to spot.