Disappointing is the only word to describe the world of orchids in the Anglesea district at the present time.
If you look hard enough, you could possibly find many of our orchid species in flower, but the number of flowers is very low, and their size means that they can easily be overlooked.
Parson’s Bands Eriochilus cucullatus, which were once very common orchids in our area, have managed to produce a few flowers in a number of areas. Although the flowers are very small, they are worth a close look. The pink or white, lateral sepals, which resemble the bands on a parson’s collar, are the key features of the flower. They are much larger than the other segments, and project forwards – indeed the petals and dorsal sepal are reduced in size, and almost inconspicuous. The fleshy labellum is covered with small stiff hairs, and has a sharply recurved tip. The flowers, one to three, are delicately perfumed. The leaves appear after the flowering time, and remain well after the flower has withered.
There are other treasures to find, Tiny Greenhoods Pterostylis parviflora and Brown Tipped Greenhoods P. sp. aff. parviflora have the smallest flowers of all our Greenhood species.
As their names suggest, the main difference is the brownish markings on the Brown Tipped Greenhood.
Other orchids observed during April have been the attractive Fringed Hare Orchids Leporella fimbriata, one or two Autumn Bird Orchids Chiloglottis reflexa, and one flowering Mosquito Orchid, Acianthus pusillus. Leaves of the Autumn Greenhood Pterostylis sp. aff revoluta indicate that the tubers are healthy, despite not producing flowers this year.
The recent rains are encouraging growth of our winter orchid species. Rosettes of Banded Greenhoods P. sanguinea and Nodding Greenhoods P. nutans are appearing in good numbers. Here’s hoping for a good season.
Note that all these species are documented in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR, and please share your orchid finds with us, as it helps to develop the bigger picture.