Having featured the Small Helmet Orchid Corybas unguiculatus last month, it is only fitting that the Veined Helmet Orchid Corybas diemenicus, which is flowering so well at the moment, should be our ‘orchid of the month’ for August.
It was once thought to be very rare in the district, but we are now aware of a number of colonies, with extensive coverage of leaves and flowers.
This tiny orchid has a textured, heart-shaped, ground-hugging leaf, and a single dark red flower opening on top of a stem to a height of just 20 mm. The large, red, dorsal sepal sits like a ‘helmet’ over the labellum, which itself has a central white patch that looks like a small face. At first glance, a colony of these tiny orchids may be mistaken for fungi, and it is interesting to note that the orchids are thought to be pollinated by fungus gnats that mistakenly visit the flowers to lay their eggs.
The third species of helmet orchids that grow in our district is the Slaty Helmet Orchid Corybas incurvus. It is in bud at the moment, and should be flowering in the next few weeks.
Winter of course is our greenhood season, and many species are already flowering. The Trim Greenhood Pterostylis concinna, with its deeply notched, brown labellum, the Tall Greenhood P. melagramma, the Dwarf Greenhood P. nana and the familiar Nodding Greenhood P. nutans, which forms such large colonies of attractive nodding flowers, are all on show.
Rosettes of the Anglesea Bearded Greenhood Pterostylis sp. aff. plumosa are appearing in many places, as are leaves of Spider and Sun Orchids. Leopard Orchids Diuris pardina, which are sometimes seen flowering in late July, are just starting to form buds. Hopefully some sunshine may replace this wintry weather of mid-July, and with the good rainfall, encourage our spring orchids to grow strongly.
Thank you to those people who are continuing to share their orchid experiences, and remember that photos and descriptions of all our orchids can be found in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.