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  1. 125 Photo by Sandra Wallace

Cowslip Orchid

Caladenia flava


  • Tuberous, perennial herb which grows from underground stems.
  • Size: 5 cm to 30 cm high.
  • Leaves: It has a broad, hairy basal leaf up to 25 cm long.
  • Flowers: The 30-40 mm diameter flowers are often solitary but up to four flowers may be borne on a slender stem about 30 cm high. Caladenia flava is a very distinctive species because of its bright yellow flowers which often have crimson spots.

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to delay emergence till later and start flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start disappearing in areas, as warmer temperatures suppress growth and development.

When To Look

  • Leaf and flowerstalk appear between July to December
  • Flowering occurs in spring and the plants become dormant in summer when they die back to an underground tuber

Where To Look

  • South-west Australia
  • Species (a number of subspecies are recognised) have been recorded from north of Kalbarri, east to Coolgardie and south to Esperance.
  • Habitats include coastal woodlands, winter-wet areas, forest areas, granite outcrops, and sandplains.
  • Look in sandy soils, under trees.

Cowslip Orchid Occurrence Map ALA




Nevill et al. 2005. Guide to the Wildlife of the Perth Region. Simon Nevill Publications, Perth, Western Australia.


Pelloe, Emily H. 1930. West Australia Orchids. [Illustrations by the author]. Perth, Western Australia.

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  1. Did You Know?


    Caladenia...From Greek calos, beautiful and aden, a gland, referring to the glands on the labellum (the distinctive lip-like petal of orchids).


    flava...From Latin flavus, yellow, referring to the colour of the flower.