Most people who look for orchids in the Anglesea district are familiar with the large bearded greenhood that grows in the area.

It has for a long time been recognised as being different from bearded greenhoods that grow in other areas, and has been called Pterostylis sp. aff. plumosa (Anglesea). Its main differing features are the large flowers, 55 to 60 mm long, with the hood tapering to a thin horn-like point. It is this long tapering point that has given rise to the new specific name of unicornis so called after the legendary unicorn with a single large pointed horn projecting from its forehead. Our greenhood also has a longer labellum with more numerous hairs and a smaller apical knob which is usually green.

bearded greenhood

“A new name for a well-known endemic orchid” 
Pterostylis unicornis

Flowering at the present time, the species forms sparse colonies as a result of seed dispersal. Plants do not form additional tubers like colony-forming greenhoods.

bearded greenhood groupBearded Greenhood group

pterostylus tasmanicaPterostylis tasmanica

In the Field

So much is happening in the field although at a slow pace—the cold weather has preserved some of our species such as Bluebeards, Pheladenia deformis, and Leopard Orchids, Diuris pardina, that have usually finished flowering by this time. However, as I write these notes on September 10, these two species are still in their prime. On the other hand, our spider orchids are taking longer than usual to come into flower. I have found just one Red-lipped Spider, Caladenia oenochila, and just a few Thick-lipped Spiders, Caladenia cardiochila, that are often in full bloom at this stage.

There are so many species flowering just now—looking through our orchid book I have listed just what I have observed over the last few weeks: Mayflies, Pink Fingers, Pink Fairies, Bluebeards, Blue Fingers, Slaty Helmet Orchids, Gnat Orchids, Large Gnat Orchids, Waxlips, Nodding Greenhoods, Dwarf Greenhoods, Trim Greenhoods, Bearded Greenhoods, Blunt Greenhoods, Tall Greenhoods, Maroonhoods, Rabbit Ears, Red Beaks, Small Spider Orchid, Thick-lip Spider Orchid, and Red-lipped Spider Orchid. It’s a pretty impressive list. Hopefully the showing will continue and grow stronger for the ANGAIR Wildflower Weekend and the school holidays.

All of these orchids are photographed and described in ‘Orchids of the Anglesea District’ available from ANGAIR. I hope you are finding time to get out into the field and observe some of these beautiful flowers. Please let us know of your discoveries.

Margaret MacDonald

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