The Blotched Sun Orchid, Thelymitra benthamiana, has a distinctive brown-blotched greenish flower and an individually shaped leaf, which is larger than the leaves of other sun orchids, oval in shape and strongly veined.
For the past few months we have observed many Blotched Sun Orchid leaves and it is thrilling to now see the orchids opening amongst the native grasses. However, they do not stay open for long, as with many of our sun orchids they self-pollinate.
Several other sun orchids have put on marvellous displays—opening widely on those few warm sunny days. These include Pink Sun Orchid, Thelymitra carnea, Salmon Sun Orchid, T. rubra, Spotted Sun Orchid, T. ixioides, Rush-leaf Sun Orchid, T. juncifolia, Slender Sun orchid, T. pauciflora, and Great Sun Orchid, T. aristata.
Salmon Sun Orchid
The Pale-flowered Sun Orchid, T. pallidiflora, which is a late flowering species, has been seen recently in a few sites. We used to claim it as an endemic species, but it is now recognised as growing at Crib Point as well as Anglesea. It is a reluctant opener and you are lucky to see it in flower.
Pale-flowered Sun Orchid
The leek orchids that flowered beautifully in the burnt areas have finished, but Scented Leek Orchids, Prasophylum odoratum, are appearing in heathland and heathy woodland. This is a complex group which is still being named, as can be seen in ‘Orchids of the Anglesea District’, with various similar species being given initials after their name. The endemic Anglesea Leek Orchid, P. sp.aff. odoratum E, is listed as endangered and can be seen now in the heathland. These orchids have delicate attractive flowers distinguished by a long narrow white labellum protruding beyond the widely spaced lateral sepals.
Anglesea Leek Orchid
Flying Duck Orchids, Caleana major, can be seen in gravelly areas with their beautiful maroon coloured flowers. The shiny labellum resembles a duck’s head and the lateral sepals face backwards looking like wings. There are some quite tall examples out now. The reddish leaf is a good way to find these orchids before the flowers appear.
Flying Duck Orchid
Little Duck Orchids, Paracaleana minor, are also flowering well. These are smaller and harder to find with a long narrow leaf. The duck shaped labellum is covered with dark calli and the flower is usually a greenish colour with reddish toness.
Little Duck Orchid
Although most Caladenia species have finished flowering, the Mantis Orchid, Caladenia tentaculata, has been flowering extremely well. In a couple of sites, we have seen groups of 100 plus flowers—an amazing sight.
Hyacinth orchids are in bud in many places and we look forward to seeing them in flower over the summer months, as well as Cinnamon Bells, Large Tongue Orchid, Horned Orchid, and possibly Elbow Orchids.
Please let us know of any of your orchid finds. All our local species are documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.
Alison Watson and Margaret MacDonald