Recently I had an amazing experience when exploring North Yilliminning nature reserve. This year there are thousands of cowslip orchids flowering and I discovered fifty cowslip/little pink fairy orchid hybrids (Caladenia flava subsp flava x Caladenia reptans subsp reptans). The reserve is a hybrid hotspot, which occurs when a lot of one parent flowers (cowslip orchid) are intermixed with a few of the other parent (little pink fairy orchid). In contrast, Foxes Lair has only two hybrids and I have found a couple of others in my wanderings in other reserves. Exceptional rainfall has spurred a mass flowering that revealed the many hybrids.
I arranged 47 images in order of change from pink to yellow, and noticed that every plant was different, often in subtle ways. Differences included flower colour and intensity, colour pattern such as stripes, dots and on tips, and intermixing of column and labellum features from each species . It is a great visual illustration of the complex mixing of genes in offspring of two parents.
Click this link and see if you can spot how each of the forty seven hybrids differ from each other.
Images below show how much the hybrids vary.