Not much has happened in the orchid world since our last report.
The cold mornings we have been experiencing, when we have had difficulty getting started, have had a similar effect on our ground orchids. Many that were in bud last month have not really developed noticeably.
There have been three nice colonies of Veined Helmet Orchids Corybas diemenicus, but unfortunately the fuel reduction burn on Cecil Track, which was very severe in the leaf litter near the base of some of the eucalypts, has meant that our largest colony has not appeared to this stage. Orchid growers tell me that the tubers are quite deep for this particular species, so perhaps next year they will recover. Very few flowers of the Small Helmet Orchid C. unguiculatus have opened, although there still seem to be some tiny buds at the base of some of the leaves. The Slaty Helmet Orchid C. incurvus has just started showing tiny leaves.
Even the very common Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans is being slow in producing the colonies of flowers we look forward to observing at this time each year. There are some good colonies, but there are huge numbers of rosettes and limited flowers.
Trim Greenhoods Pterostylis concinna are flowering well, but the Tall Greenhood P. melagramma is still only in bud. There seem to be more specimens than usual, so hopefully they will open in the next few weeks. There are large numbers of non-flowering plants producing rosettes.
Both species of Cyrtostylis, Gnat Orchid Cyrtostylis reniformis and Robust Gnat Orchid C. robusta are also in bud, while a few Mosquito Orchids Acianthus pusillus are still flowering. Not many flowers of this species appeared this year,
The Banded Greenhood P. sanguinea has continued to impress with its nodding reddish-brown flowers.
Although most of the stems have been short this year, and many have had just single flowers, they have appeared in good numbers throughout the district. They seem to flower for a longer period than many of our other orchids. It is not an easy orchid to photograph as the large hood, to 15 mm, covers the oblong labellum, which has hairy margins. The lateral sepals are the feature, forming almost a circle below the hood. The flowering plant has leaves up the stem, while the non-flowering plant forms a rosette.
We are looking forward to some warmer weather, so that, with the good rains we had in early winter, the tubers of our spring orchids will be encouraged to start germinating. Already leaves of Sun Orchids and Spider Orchids are appearing, so here’s hoping!
Photos and descriptions of all the orchids that grow in the Anglesea district are documented in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.