Caladenia attingens

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Mantis orchids
Caladenia attingens gracillima.jpg
Subspecies gracillima
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Genus: Caladenia
C. attingens
Binomial name
Caladenia attingens
Hopper & A.P.Br.

Caladenia attingens, commonly known as mantis orchids, are plants in the orchid family Orchidaceae and are endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. There are three subspecies, each of which has a single hairy leaf and one or two brightly coloured flowers with upswept sepals and a labellum with long, comb-like fringes. The subspecies differ in size, distribution and habitat.


Caladenia attingens is a terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber and a single erect, hairy leaf 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long and 5–12 mm (0.2–0.5 in) wide. The lower part of the leaf often has reddish blotches.[1][2][3][4]

There are one or two flowers on a hairy spike 12–45 cm (5–20 in) high, each flower 4–8 cm (2–3 in) long and 2–7 cm (0.8–3 in) wide. The flowers are green, white and yellow with reddish-purple areas. The dorsal sepal is erect, sometimes curves forward, 3.5–6 cm (1–2 in) long, 1.5–3 mm (0.06–0.1 in) wide with a swollen glandular tip 10–20 mm (0.4–0.8 in). The lateral sepals are 3.5–6 cm (1–2 in) long, 1.5–4 mm (0.06–0.2 in) wide and upswept with a glandular tip similar to the one on the dorsal sepal. The petals are 2–4 cm (0.8–2 in) long, 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) long, spread widely and usually lack a glandular tip. The labellum is greenish-yellow with a red tip and four or more rows of dark red calli along its centre. The sides of the labellum bear long, green, comb-like teeth. Flowering occurs between August and November.[1][2][3]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Caladenia attingens was first formally described by Stephen Hopper and Andrew Brown in 2001 and the description was published in Nuytsia.[5] The specific epithet (attingens) is a Latin word meaning "reaching to" or "attaining", referring to the calli which extend as far as the tip of the labellum.[2]

When Hooper and Brown described the species, they also described two subspecies, C. attingens subsp. attingens[6] and C. attingens subsp. gracillima.[7] Since then, a third subspecies has been described by Andrew Brown and Garry Brockman and given the name C. attingens subsp. effusa.[8]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Mantis orchids occur between Perth and Israelite Bay, growing in a range of habitats, depending on subspecies.[1]


All three subspecies of Caladenia attingens are classified as "Not Threatened" by the Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Andrew Phillip; Brockman, Garry (2015). "New taxa of Caladenia (Orchidaceae) from south-west Western Australia". Nuytsia. 25: 60–62.
  2. ^ a b c Brown, Andrew; Dixon, Kingsley; French, Christopher; Brockman, Garry (2013). Field guide to the orchids of Western Australia : the definitive guide to the native orchids of Western Australia. Simon Nevill Publications. pp. 118–120. ISBN 9780980348149.
  3. ^ a b Hoffman, Noel; Brown, Andrew (2011). Orchids of South-West Australia (3rd ed.). Gooseberry Hill: Noel Hoffman. pp. 144–146. ISBN 9780646562322.
  4. ^ "Caladenia". Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Caladenia attingens". APNI. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Caladenia attingens subsp. attingens". APNI. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Caladenia attingens subsp. gracillima". APNI. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Caladenia attingens subsp. effusa". APNI. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Caladenia attingens". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.