The Orchids of Western Australia

Pyrorchis nigricans


Pyrorchis nigricans – Red Fire Orchid

Originally known as Red Beaks and Elephant Ears

These orchids produce large, fleshy, heart-shaped leaves commonly called ‘Elephants’ Ears’. A burn of the environment is usually necessary to induce flowering, particularly in coastal areas.

Red Beaks, Elephants' ears Fire Orchid Red Beaks, Elephants' ears



  1. Terry Dunham

    Hi , just a note re Red Beaks and fire.. they dont need a fire to flower.. we see them flowering every year here in the Stirling Ranges, i am taking pics this week of Red Beaks flowering in bush that hasn’t had a fire for decades .. and lately on my Western Australian Native Orchids facebook page, people have been posting Red Beak flowers from many areas.. they will flower if there has been no fire for many years as they decide its time to set some seed or perish.. cheers Terry..

    1. Noel

      What you say is absolutely correct, however you will find that the orchid will flower in profusion following a summer fire. Inland, some Fire Orchids will flower without a fire but this never occurs in large numbers.

  2. Peter Moltoni

    Hi Noel.
    Interesting observation on Terry’s part. I’m curious what you would identify as “large numbers.” If you’re familiar with the Glen Forrest Superblock, just around the corner from Glen Forrest Dve into Ryecroft, there is an entry to the Block. To the immediate left as you enter there is a colony of red beaks that have appeared each year for the last three from my own observation, without benefit of fire. I haven’t checked for a couple of weeks but they may still be in flower. May be worth a look.
    Love your book. We have the second edition.

  3. Kelly Doye

    Interestingly we are in the Peel area and have lived here for over 20 years. We waited patiently for them to flower after being told it would only happen every ten years or so. The only time they have ever flowered in our area is after the 2011 January bushfire.

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