Caladenia carnea

Pink fingers

This deciduous terrestrial orchid shows a large amount of variation and is probably a complex of related species.

Caladenia carnea grows in open eucalypt forests where the grass is sparse.

The single leaf grows to 15 cm by 3 mm and while looks like grass can be differentiated as it is quite soft. The flower stem grows to about 20 cm with one or occasionally two flowers. The flowers are to about 20 mm across and are generally pink but commonly white or any shade of pink. The labellum and column have transverse purple stripes.

While this orchid is similar to Caladenia catenata, it can be readily distinguished by the striping on the labellum.

This flower is similar to Caladenia catenata but Caladenia carnea does not have the barring on the labellum or column. In addition, the column of Caladenia catenata reclines virtually starting horizontal before bending vertical, whereas the Caladenia carnea column starts at about a forty five degrees before bending vertical.

Caladenia carnea and Caladenia catenata will hybridise where they occur together creating a confusing blend making identification difficult.

This flower is also similar to Caladenia fuscata but can be separated by Caladenia carnea‘s much larger flowers, much thicker flower stem and labellum side lobes which do not curl inwards

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