Plants of
South Australia
Caladenia tentaculata
Large Green-comb Spider-orchid,
King 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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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 12

Prior names

Calonemorchis tentaculata

Arachnorchis tentaculata

Calonema tentaculatum

Common names

Large Green-comb Spider-orchid

King 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. Tentaculata from Latin meaning a feeler or holdfast, referring long tentacle-like sepals.

Distribution and status

Found in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the South-east in South Australia, growing in a range of habitats including coastal heathland, dry inland heathy or grassy woodland or open forest, on well-drained soils. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Large terrestrial orchid with a flowering stem to 50 cm high. Leaf single, to 15 cm long and 2 cm wide, hairy, often with red spots near the base. Flowers up to three, green with red stripes, to 10 cm across borne on a spike 50 mm tall. Sepals brown or yellow, club-like glandular tips, to 12 mm long. Dorsal sepal curves forward, to 80 mm long and 4 mm wide. Lateral sepals to 80 mm long and 5 mm wide and are turned downward, nearly parallel to each other but with the tips turning to horizontal or slightly upwards, then often drooping at their ends. Petals to 50 mm long and 3 mm wide and turned downwards. Labellum green with a white central area and a dark red tip, to 20 mm long and 25 mm wide, margins with 5-8 thin green teeth curved downwards at the tips. Labellum with four crowded rows of dark red, club-shaped calli in the centre. Flowering occurs from September to December. Fruits are pale-brown hairy, papery ellipsoid capsule containing numerous tiny seeds.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between October and January. 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.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA2,545,500 (0.91 g)8530-Oct-2018Wadmore Park
Southern Lofty
24-Apr-2019N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA476,000 (0.17 g)129-Nov-2019P.Beltrame
Southern Lofty
BGA1,283,200 (0.458 g)3421-Oct-2021Wadmore Park Nursery
Southern Lofty
10-Aug-2022N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA1,200,000 (0.44 g)1-Dec-2017P. Biltrame
Southern Lofty
10-Aug-2022N/C-18°C, -80°C
BGA1,625,600 (0.580 g)4124-Nov-2022Wadmore Park
Southern Lofty
21-Jun-2023N/C-18°C, -80°C
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.