Plants of
South Australia
Caladenia bicalliata ssp. bicalliata
Western Limestone Spider-orchid,
Western Daddy-long-legs
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Prior names

Jonesiopsis bicalliata

Calonemorchis bicalliata

Calonema bicalliatum

Calonema bicalliatum

Caladenia filamentosa var. bicalliata

Caladenia bicalliata, partly

Common names

Western Limestone Spider-orchid

Western Daddy-long-legs


Caladenia from the Greek 'callos' meaning beauty and 'aden' meaning a gland, referring to the colourful labellum and the glistening glands at the base of the column that are present in many of the species. Bicalliata means two calli, referring to the species having two rows of labellum calli.

Distribution and status

Found scattered in the southern part of South Australia, growing on calcareous sands or in leaf litter on limestone, chiefly along the coast. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Western Australia.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small hairy terrestrial orchid to 14 cm tall in flower, with a single, very large (for the size of the plant) hairy, linear-lanceolate leaf to 6 cm long. Inflorescence on a hairy slender stem with one, or rarely 2 cream-coloured flowers with red veins; perianth-segments abruptly contracted into cylindrical coarsely glandular filaments. Dorsal sepal to 2 cm long, one-third of which is dilated. Lateral sepals less than 2 cm long, one-half of which is dilated. Petals gradually contracted into filaments. Labellum ovate to 7 mm long and 5 mm wide on a short movable claw, with the margins very shortly and bluntly serrate; lamina conspicuously red-veined; calli club-shaped, in 2 well-defined rows. Column to 8 mm long, erect then incurved, widely winged in the upper third. Anther without a point. Flowering between August and September. Fruits are brown, hairy, papery ellipsoid capsule containing numerous tiny seeds.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and early october. Collect fat capsules as they start to dry and turn brown. Pods will split and release the seeds quickly and will require monitoring. To increase the chances of collecting mature pods, it is recommended that a small breathable bag (ie. Organza bags) be used to enclose the developing capsules. Place the capsules in a container that will hold fine seeds and leave to dry for a few weeks or until the capsule split. Then carefully hold the capsule and tap it gently to release the seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place, refrigerator or in liquid nitrogen. Seed germination in orchid species is difficult in the absence of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi.

Fire response

Obligate re-spouter and re-seeder.

Longevity: ?? years

Time to flowering: ?? years

Recovery work

In 2020-2021 this species was assessed post-fire in 1 year old fire scars. Further populations will be assessed and seeds collected on Kangaroo Island in 2021–2022. Germination screening testing the response to fire cues will be undertaken in 2021. The project work is supported by John T. Reid Foundation.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA644,400 (0.23 g)174-Oct-2018DJD3754
Yorke Peninsula
24-Apr-2019N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA28,000 (0.010 g)221-Sep-2020DJD3895
Yorke Peninsula
BGA68,300 (0.024 g)158-Oct-2021J.Smith
Southern Lofty
BGA19,800 (0.007 g)12-Oct-2021Seal Bay CP
Kangaroo Island
BGA230,000 (0.082 g)125-Oct-2021Vivonne Bay Dunes
Kangaroo Island
BGA283,000 (0.101 g)40+7-Oct-2021Stuart Moody's property
Yorke Peninsula
10-Aug-2022N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA975,000 (0.347 g)4618-Oct-2022J.Smith
Southern Lofty
21-Jun-2023N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA223,000 (0.067 g)117-Oct-2022J.Smith
Southern Lofty
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.