With orchid reports coming in from other areas showing very little activity in the orchid world, we can be grateful that the Anglesea district always seems to have something to offer despite the lack of rainfall.
Bearded Midge Orchids, Corunastylis morrisii, featured in our last orchid report, have continued to flower although in small numbers, and I have managed to locate about eight flowering stems of the rarer Fringed Midge Orchid, C. ciliata, also described in that report.
Parson’s Bands, Eriochilus cucullatus, have been observed in most of our orchid sites, but I can truthfully say I have never seen smaller specimens. Nevertheless the prominent white lateral sepals are easily noticeable scattered amongst the grasses usually in the more open areas. The greenish labellum with red markings is recurved and covered with stiff small hairs.
Fringed Hare Orchids, Leporella fimbriata, started appearing in early April in reasonable numbers and again were very small in stature. The rains that we are having now in mid-April should encourage continued flowering stalks to appear. The erect petals that resemble the hare’s ears are covered with dark glands at their tips, emitting a scent that attracts male flying ants that pollinate the orchids. The broad fringed labellum is another feature of this orchid. We are disappointed that our best known colony of Fringed Hare Orchids will be threatened under the Alcoa mine reinforcement works. Hopefully careful management of the top soil may see the colony being able to be re-established in a different location.
Fringed Hare Orchids
Greenhoods, Pterostylis sp., are starting to appear. The Brown-tipped Greenhood, P. clivosa, is flowering in a number of sites, but as yet I have not seen the Tiny Greenhood, P. parviflora, that should also be flowering at this time.
The spectacular larger Autumn Greenhood, P. sp. aff. revoluta, is in flower but unfortunately mainly on privately owned land. Flowering stems do not have rosettes, while colonies of the rosettes on non-flowering plants are sometimes observed.
Other orchids to keep an eye out for during May are Autumn Bird Orchids, Chilogottis reflexa, I have only seen tiny paired leaves pushing up through the soil in mid-April), possibly Tall Bird Orchids, C. trilabra, Mosquito Orchids, Acianthus pusillus, and Banded Greenhoods, Pterostylis sanguinea.
As we say often, please keep us informed of your orchid observations, especially when orchids are not plentiful.
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.