Plants of
South Australia
Caladenia leptochila ssp. dentata
Toothed spider-orchid,
Narrow-lip Spider-orchid,
Queen Spider-orchid
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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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Prior names

Arachnorchis leptochila, partly

Arachnorchis leptochila ssp. dentata

Caladenia leptochila, partly

Common names

Toothed spider-orchid

Narrow-lip Spider-orchid

Queen Spider-orchid


Caladenia from the Greek 'kallos' 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. Leptochila from the Greek 'leptos' meaning fine, small or thin and 'cheilos' meaning lip, referring to the thin labellum. Dentata from Latin meaning toothed or pointed, referring to the teeth on the edges of the labellum.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found only in the southern Flinders Ranges, growing in woodland under other shrubs on slopes at altitudes of 700–800 m. Native. Rare in South Australia. 
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Slender terrestrial orchid to 45 cm tall in flower. Leaf single, densely hairy, narrow-lanceolate to 14 cm long. Flowers 1-2, reddish-brown and yellowish-green borne on a stalk to 45 cm long. Sepals thin, club-like glandular tips to 8 mm long. Dorsal sepal curves forward to 30 mm long and 4 mm wide. Lateral sepals about the same size as the dorsal sepal and turned stiffly upwards. Petals to 25 mm long, sickle-shaped, taper to a thin point and turn upwards. Labellum oblong to broad lance-shaped, to 13 mm long, dark reddish-brown with the tip rolled under and many short teeth along the edges and four rows of calli along its centre on the flatter part. This subspecies is distinguished from the other subspecies found in South Australia, C. leptochila ssp. leptochila which have no teeth along the edges of the labellum and is found in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Flowering between October to November. Fruits are pale-brown hairy, papery ellipsoid capsule.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between late November and December. 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.