It has been cold and dry, and our winter flowering orchids have certainly been affected both in quantity and quality.
However in more sheltered areas with perhaps a bit more moisture available, there have been some very nice specimens.
The third of our Helmet Orchid species to flower each year, the Slaty Helmet Orchid, Corybas incurvus, has struggled, with many leaves appearing, but not too many flowers.
Slaty Helmet Orchid
Some people do get confused between the Veined Helmet Orchid, Corybas diemenicus, that we featured last month, and is quite rare in the district, and C. incurvus that is much more common and widespread. They do both have short flower stalks, but while the stalk of C. diemenicus is very noticeable, that of the Slaty Helmet Orchid is very short and often not noticeable, with the flower often appearing to sit on the leaf. The dorsal sepal (the helmet) is red on the Veined Helmet and slaty green on the Slaty Helmet. The labellum is also a distinguishable feature – widely flared on C. diemenicus and incurved on C. incurvus.
Greenhoods have continued to flower, and we are now welcoming Tall Greenhoods, Pterostylis melagramma, Blunt Greenhoods, P. curta, and the Dwarf Greenhood, P. nana. The Dwarf Greenhood appears to have liked our winter weather and some very extensive colonies of this species are appearing in many areas.
I have looked unsuccessfully for both the Green-striped Greenhood, P. chlorogramma and the Large Pointed Greenhood, P. x ingens.
A few of the colourful Bluebeards, Pheladenia deformis, have shown their beauty in the last few weeks, and the Leopard Orchid, D.pardina, although in much fewer numbers than last year, is showing its distinctive yellow and brown flowers.
Mayfly orchids, Acianthus caudatus, are also flowering in certain areas.
It is disappointing to see that many of the Sun Orchids, Thelymitra sp., which appeared in July and gave promise of a good flowering season, do not seem to be producing flower buds. It would seem that it has been just too cold to encourage growth.
All of these orchids are photographed and described in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR. Please let us know of your orchid discoveries as they help to build up the bigger picture.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.