Plants of
South Australia
Caladenia vulgaris
Lesser Caladenia,
Plain Caladenia
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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

Petalochilus vulgaris

Common names

Lesser Caladenia

Plain Caladenia


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. Vulgaris from Latin meaning common or ordinary.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing in in heathland and coastal scrub on moisture-retentive sandy soils. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Rare in South Australia. Uncommon in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Slender terrestrial orchid to 36 cm tall in flower, usually grows as solitary plants. Leaf single, to 270 mm long and 3 mm wide, hairy, dark green with red near its base. Flowers 1-2 to 12 mm wide, dull pinkish to white borne on a stalk to 36 cm tall, backs of the flowers are densely hairy and pinkish with brown bands. Dorsal sepal to 15 mm long and 4 mm wide, curves forward over the column. Lateral sepals to 18 mm long and 6 mm wide, slightly curved and fused at their bases. Petals to 17 mm long and 5 mm wide, spread widely. Labellum to 7 mm long and 8 mm wide, white or pink with narrow red bars and a yellow tip. Lateral lobes of the labellum are erect and surround the column, while the central part has eight to ten short teeth on the sides. Tip of labellum curves slightly downwards with two rows of yellow to orange stalked calli along the mid-line. Flowering between October and December. Fruits are pale-brown hairy, papery ellipsoid capsule containing numerous tiny seeds.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between November 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.