As we stated in our May orchid article there are 19 species of greenhoods that grow in the Anglesea district.
With this month’s descriptions we will have featured 11 of the 19 species. A number of these are still flowering. The two species to be featured this month have come into flower recently – they are our tallest greenhoods.
The Tall Greenhood, Pterostylis melagramma, and the much more rare Green-striped Greenhood, P. chlorogramma, may be confused in the field, but there are noticeable differences. P. melagramma will sometimes grow over 60cm tall and bears up to 15 green flowers with indistinct stripes, while P. chlorogramma usually grows to about 45cm tall and bears about 10 glossy green flowers with darker green stripes.
Of course, in dry conditions the plants will be much shorter, with fewer flowers. If you look at the shape of the flower you will notice that P. melagramma has a much narrower flower and the sides of the lateral sepals that hang down are almost straight. On the other hand the flower of P. chlorogramma is quite bulbous in shape at the basal end, and the sides of the lateral sepals are slightly shaped. Usually P. melagramma has a dark brown stripe on the labellum, while P. chlorogramma usually has a green stripe, but that is not always the case!
Many other orchids are now in flower. The third of our helmet orchids, the Slaty Helmet Orchid, Corybas incurvus, can be seen in a number of places with a huge number of leaves but very few flowers, and the first of our colourful orchids, the Leopard Orchid, Diuris pardina, catches our eye with its yellow and brown flowers.
Slaty Helmet Orchid
Gnat orchids, Cyrtostylis reniformis, are forming large colonies throughout the district with many fine flowers appearing, and some early Mayfly Orchids, Acianthus caudatus, with their distinctive reddish purple flowers can be seen at the sides of tracks.
As stated last month the excellent rainfalls have encouraged orchid leaves to appear in large numbers throughout the district, and we are hopeful of a productive spring flowering season.
It is a great time to be out exploring the orchid world but we need some warm sunshine to encourage the tubers to produce flowers. Photos and descriptions of all our orchids are found in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.