Although the most common of our native orchids, it is impossible not to be impressed when one stumbles upon a colony of Nodding Greenhoods Pterostylis nutans.
The species is widespread and locally abundant, and produces huge, prolifically flowering colonies at this time of the year. Each plant has four or five large leaves with wavy edges, forming a rosette at the base of each of the flower stems.
The familiar nodding flowers, which usually appear singly on the top of a flower stem to about 30 cm high, are translucent green, with darker green stripes and tonings. The hood is strongly curved downward and forward, and the lateral sepals curve downward beyond the hood. The long, curved, hairy labellum, with its brownish central ridge, is easily visible beyond the frontal opening.
The Moggs Creek Picnic Ground can boast some of these colonies; they are close to where you park the cars, so it is easy for everyone to enjoy the experience of viewing this particular orchid. While you are there, and also in other places, keep an eye out for the Tall Greenhood Pterostylis melagramma, which is just coming into flower.
A number of other orchids are presently flowering in the district, and include Veined Helmet Orchids Corybas diemenicus, Small Helmet Orchids Corybas unguiculatus, Trim Greenhoods Pterostylis concinna, Dwarf Greenhoods Pterostylis nana, Mosquito Orchids Acianthus pusillus and Gnat Orchids Cyrtostylis reniformis. It is a great time to be out in the field.
Large numbers of Spider Orchid leaves (Caladenia sp.) are appearing, and with all the winter rains, we are looking forward to a successful spring flowering season.
Photographs and descriptions of all of these orchids can be found in Orchids of the Anglesea District, available from ANGAIR
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