The Small Helmet Orchid, Corybas unguiculatus, has been chosen as our special orchid for this month. It is so tiny that it can easily be overlooked.
Small Helmet Orchid
The photos of this species, just about 10mm long, taken at Moggs Creek on June 20 by Michael Prideaux enable you to see the features of this tiny dark red orchid including the projecting lower beak on the end of the labellum, possibly some tiny white bristles in the centre of the lower section of the labellum, that as David Jones says are sparse or absent around the opening (it might just be white gravel!), as well as the whitish lateral sepals and shorter whitish petals. In previous years we have seen slightly larger specimens at Gum Flat and on the O’Donohue heathlands so please keep a look out for this species as you walk in the district.
Small Helmet Orchid
The first Nodding Greenhoods, Pterostylis nutans, are flowering at Moggs Creek and in other woodland areas.
Trim Greenhoods, P. concinna, are just beginning to flower at Gum Flat, where there will be a good display.
The just visible notched brown labellum distinguishes it from the Dwarf Greenhood, P. nana, which usually flowers later in our district. We were pleased to see rosettes of Bearded Greenhood, P. unicornis, on a track at Eumeralla during the recent Angair nature ramble. They have also been observed recently on Ted’s Track at Aireys Inlet. This orchid was previously known as P. sp. aff. plumosa (Anglesea). Banded Greenhoods, P. sanguinea, which were featured in our last Newsletter, are now flowering in many places blending well into the surrounding vegetation, and the Striped Greenhoods, P. striata, are still flowering well with a huge number of non-flowering rosettes in the colony.
Amongst the large colonies of Gnat Orchids, Cyrostylis reniformis, along Forest Rd, the flowers are just starting to come into bud. Some large colonies have also been observed on the O’Donohue heathlands. The leaves of the Gnat Orchids are more veined than the similarly shaped leaves of the Slaty Helmet Orchids, Corybas incurvus. Large Gnat Orchids, Crytostylis robusta, should be flowering soon amongst the Moonahs at Pt Roadknight.
Mosquito orchids, Acianthus pusillus, which were also featured in our last Newletter, are now flowering well in many places, while a few late flowering Fringed Hare Orchids, Leporella fimbriata, have been seen amongst the many heavily red-veined leaves.
Leaves of Redbeaks, Waxlips, Sun Orchids, Leek Orchids, Spider Orchids, Helmet Orchids and Hare Orchids have all been seen over the last few weeks. Two Redbeak Orchid specimens, Pyrorchis nigricans, were observed already in bud. We were excited when Ruby, one of our Parks Vic Rangers, discovered a new colony of the evergreen Large Tongue Orchids, Cryptostylis subulata, on Shiney Eye Track. We will be watching to see if they flower later in the year.
With all the fuel reduction burns carried out in the area we could possibly be looking at a good spring orchid flowering season.
Alison Watson/Margaret MacDonald