Caladenia praecox Nicholls

Early Caladenia

Victorian Naturalist 43: 156 (1926) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Flowering plant very slender, 6–13 cm tall. Leaf linear, 6–12 cm long, 2–3 mm wide, sparsely hairy, often glabrous above. Flowers 1–4, white with pink or green markings (rarely wholly pink); ovary c. 5–9 mm long; perianth segments 9–15 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide, bluntish to acute, outer surfaces with dark red, glandular hairs; dorsal sepal hooded, curved at about middle, embracing the column, narrowly elliptic; lateral sepals and petals spreading, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate, asymmetric, lateral sepals broader than petals. Labellum on short claw, very obscurely 3-lobed, 6–7 mm long (when flattened), white, often red-spotted; margins entire until labellum starts tapering towards the apex, then fringed with calli; calli slender, relatively long, granular-headed (i.e. with rounded minute papillae), white, yellow, crimson or purple, becoming abruptly shorter near to scalloped apex; apex crimson or purple; lamina calli in 4–6 rows, extending from base almost to apex, not congested, shortly stalked, clubbed, heads granular and yellow or white. Column erect at base, upper third bent forward, narrowly winged at base but expanded above, often spotted dull crimson; anther with short point. Flowers Aug.–Sep.

CVU, EGL, EGU, GipP, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, NIS, OtP, Strz, VRiv, VVP. Also NSW. Many records come from open forests and woodlands around the north-eastern perimeter of Melbourne (e.g. Whittlesea, Eltham, Yarra Glen), but apparently more widespread through the Victorian goldfields.

Similar to Caladenia moschata and C. cucullata but distinguished by the slender calli that fringe the anterior margins of the almost unlobed labellum, which tapers abruptly near to scalloped apex of the mid-lobe. Caladenia praecox also generally begins flowering earlier than the other 2 species. See also notes under C. clarkiae.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Orchidaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-02-15
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Asparagales
family Orchidaceae
genus Caladenia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Caladenia praecox in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Caladenia praecox in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory