Chasing the crowning glory of WA’s wildflowers

Thelymitra Speciosa Queen of Sheba Orchid

Known as a crowning glory of Western Australia’s unique world of flowers, The ‘Queen’ (of Sheba) has been sighted by very few lucky people, including committed and dedicated followers of flora.

To locate this most beautiful wild orchid, the Shepherd brothers of Wild Flower Safari Tours have taken up the challenge. 

“These elusive beauties are rightly known as the ‘Queen’,” says Harry Clements-Shepherd.

“This Thelymitra variegate iconic orchid is found in woodland sandy soils and often at the side of a track. They vary in size, colour and markings.”

Many people have tried to find this often elusive, wonderful orchid.

“She excites the imagination of all who seek her. 

“Heaths along the very deep south of WA are the best hunting grounds. After many miles of wandering around this massive state, actually since the late 1950s, I have unfortunately witnessed not only the demise of Jarrah forest, but also the home of many wildflowers that were once common.

“Loss of habitat, either to clearing or phosphate-based fertilisers, carry most of the blame. The ‘Queen’ has become rare too. She is an early bloomer and can be seen in flower from July to late August, if you know where to look, that is,” he said.

Harry added that Hakea victoria (named for another queen), was more easily found throughout the year. 

“Again, the deep south heathlands are the best areas to search.”

Wild Flower Safari Tours will be taking keen explorers to areas reliably known for sighting these two wild flowers, among other early blooming species, for just two, three-day tours during July and August. 

Harry said weather and temperature played a large part in the success of finding the ‘Queen’. Hakea was a much easier matter. 

“Last year we found that using our deep-south contacts and then heading off on the best advice available, worked well. We will work to a similar plan this year. We are confident of sighting Hakea and Queen of Sheba.

Each tour, with a maximum five people, will be away three days and two nights during July and August, based on seasonal conditions and local information. Starters must be ready to leave on two days’ notice and will be kept informed of developments.

Details: Harry is always available for a chat and it costs nothing. 0407 085 097 or (www.wild