Seeds of South Australia
Caladenia formosa (Orchidaceae)
Elegant Spider Orchid
List of species for Caladenia
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Seed collecting:
December to January
Herbarium region:
South Eastern
NRM region:
South East
IBRA regions
Lucindale (NCP03)Naracoorte Coastal Plain
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [some taxonomic issues, hybridising]
Tintinara (NCP04) 
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii))   (Probable Decline)   [hybridising]
Lowan Mallee (MDD04)Murray Darling Depression
 Endangered   (IUCN: EN B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv))   (Definite Decline)   [habitat loss; could be other spp.]
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Caladenia]
Name derivation:
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 adorn many of the species. Formosa from the Latin 'formosa' meaning beautiful, alluding to the attractive flowers.
Found in the south-east in South Australia growing in heathy woodlands in shallow sands, typically in areas that are moist in winter and dry in summer. Also found in Victoria.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Very rare in Victoria.
Plant description:
Grows to 50 cm tall and can have up to three flowers. Single linear leaf, 2-15 cm long, hairy. Flowers are large, with sepals up to 80 mm in length. Colour can vary from pinkish-red to deep blood-red, but is generally uniform.  Flowering between September and October.
Fruit type:
Brown papery ellipsoid capsule.
Seed type:
Very small brown ellipsoid seed with a long cylindrical translucent brown mesh-like covering.
Seed collecting:
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.
Seed cleaning:
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 or in liquid nitrogen.
Seed viability:
For the NVC South East Orchid Project two populations consisting of more than X individuals in total were recorded in the Geegeela & Hazels Road areas. Approximately 1,235,000 seeds (0.38g) were banked for these two observed populations. Seed viability was low (19%) for the Geegeela collection and ranged between 72% and 93% for the Hazels Road collection.