With the strange autumn weather we have been having, the autumn orchids have been appearing and disappearing in a very short time. However we are optimistic that further specimens will appear during the next few weeks.
The three species of Midge Orchids have all flowered in large numbers – Sharp Midge Orchids Corunastylis despectans, Fringed Midge Orchids C. ciliata, and the most common of the genus, Bearded Midge Orchids C. morrisii, were all observed during March. We have not found any new populations, but the known ones have been very productive.
A few Autumn Bird Orchids Chiloglottis reflexa (or were they Tall Bird Orchids C. trilabra) flowered briefly. It is sometimes tricky to differentiate between these two species. We are hopeful that some more may still flower.
Parson’s Bands Eriochilus cucullatus are coming into flower, as are the Tiny Greenhood Pterostylis parviflora, and the Brown-Tipped Greenhood P. aff. parviflora.
Unfortunately, Autumn Greenhoods Pterostylis sp. aff. revoluta have become very rare in our district. The small population that we knew about in Anglesea has not flowered for a number of years. Twelve flowers appeared at one of our sites on private land at Aireys Inlet, but only one in the Greenhood Reserve. Last year we had seven flowering stems at this site. This large greenhood has a flower stem to 25 cm tall, with several, stem-?hugging bracts, and bears a single, large, white and green flower, with a brown tinge at the apex. The lateral sepals extend high above the hood, and the labellum extends prominently through the frontal opening. If you should see any large greenhoods in the field at this time of the year, they will be Autumn Greenhoods, and we would be very excited to hear of your finds.
Two other species to look for during April are Mosquito Orchids Acianthus pusillus, and the Fringed Hare Orchid Leporella fimbriata.
Photographs and descriptions of all of the above orchids can be found in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.