Cowslip Orchid R Mostert/Climatewatcher

Cowslip Orchid

Tuberous, perennial herb which grows from underground stems. 5 - 30 cm high.


It has a broad, hairy basal leaf up to 25 cm long.


The 30 - 40 mm diameter flowers are often solitary but up to four flowers may be borne on a slender stem about 30 cm high. It is a very distinctive species because of its bright yellow flowers which often have crimson spots.

Field Guide

Improve your identification skills. Download your Cowslip Orchid field guide here!

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • Leaf and flowerstalk appear between July to December
  • Flowering occurs in spring
  • Dormant in summer when they die back to an underground tuber

Where To Look

  • South-west Australia, subspecies found from north of Kalbarri, east to Coolgardie and south to Esperance
  • Habitats include coastal woodlands, winter-wet areas, forest areas, granite outcrops, and sandplains
  • Look in sandy soils, under trees
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Caladenia from Greek (calos) beautiful and (aden) a gland, referring to the glands on the labellum (the distinctive lip-like petal of orchids).