The Rosy Hyacinth Orchid, Dipodium roseum, is the highlight this month. The recent plentiful rain has led to a good flowering of this beautiful orchid throughout the area. Hopefully this is a sign of a good orchid year to come.
Rosy Hyacinth Orchid
The Spotted Hyacinth Orchid, Dipodium pardalinum, is proving much harder to find. It is indeed rare in the district. The site where it is usually observed was burnt last spring and most likely affected its flowering this season. The flowers are white to pale pink with indistinct darker pink spots and blotches. The labellum has small pink spots compared to the striped labellum of the Rosy Hyacinth. If you look closely at the newly opened buds of the Hyacinth Orchid you will notice the labellum is at the top of the flower. As it opens, the flower twists 180 degrees and the labellum is then on the lower side.
Spotted Hyacinth Orchid
In December there was a good flowering of Horned Orchids, Orthoceras strictum, especially on Forest Rd and Messmate Track. These delightful orchids varied in their colourings from maroon-brown to yellowish green.
Also in December and January the Elbow Orchids, Thynninorchis huntianus, were flowering. These orchids are often difficult to find in the district but this season we were thrilled to find good numbers flowering in a few different areas. Elbow Orchids are very tiny but once seen are a delight, and if you watch carefully you may see a male thynnid wasp alight on the jointed labellum which mimics the female wasp, where it is briefly caught against the anther allowing pollen to be transferred.
The Large Tongue Orchid, Cryptostylis subulata, flowered unexpectedly at Moggs Creek in an area cleared for fire prevention work. In the usual area at No. 2 Rd there were lots of leaves again this year but only a few flowers.
Large Tongue Orchid
Tall Cinnamon Bells or Potato Orchid, Gastrodia procera, were seen flowering well at the camping area at Lake Elizabeth in clumps under tall eucalypts in December. Two flowering stems were also seen on the Moggs Creek circuit track.
Tall Cinnamon Bells or Potato Orchid
This is a tall robust orchid with a crowded flower spike compared to the well-spaced flowers on the more common Cinnamon Bells, Gastrodia sesamoides.
The Black-tongue Caladenia, Caladenia congesta, was seen flowering at Yaugher. This is a species we have not observed flowering in our district for many years.
Keep a watch out for Midge Orchids (Bearded, Sharp and Fringed) and the leaves of the Autumn Bird Orchid and Tiny Greenhood which should all start to appear in early autumn.
Please let us know of any of your orchid finds. All our local species are documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.
Alison Watson and Margaret MacDonald
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.