Following the ‘An Orchid Experience’ article shared with you in our October Newsletter we would like to bring you up to date with what has been happening in the Harvey St area that was burnt in November 2016.

Keen to share this site with visitors to the ANGAIR wildflower weekend on Saturday and Sunday September 23/24 we were thrilled that our first Large White Spider Orchid, Caladenia venusta, opened on the day of the show. One flower had been in large bud all the previous week, and fulfilled its promise that it would open in time! Since then Large White Spider Orchids have been flowering in profusion throughout the site allowing people to admire their beauty and to photograph them – not an easy task in our windy weather.

 Large White Spider Orchid
Large White Spider Orchid

The Mantis Orchid, Caladenia tentaculate, has now also started flowering, and if you look carefully you may find some hybrids between the Large White and the Mantis Orchid. This is a common hybrid in the Anglesea district displaying features of both species.

The Hare Orchids, Leptoceras menziesii, and the Tall Leek Orchids, Prasophylum elatum, also opened in time for the show and are still flowering in the area.

 Hare Orchids
Hare Orchids

 Tall Leek Orchid
Tall Leek Orchid

Leek orchids are popular kangaroo food and many flowering stalks have now disappeared, but some should continue to show flowers for a few weeks yet. Red Beaks, Pyrorchis nigricans, are still flowering in a number of places.

The Great Sun Orchid, Thelymitra aristata, stimulated by fire, has produced a number of flowering stalks throughout the burnt area, and despite many of these fleshy orchids also being devoured by hungry kangaroos, we have managed to see the spectacular tall blue flower spikes in full bloom on the few occasions when the sunshine and humidity encouraged them to open.

 Great Sun Orchid
Great Sun Orchid

A few other sun orchids have also opened including Rabbit Ears, Thelymitra antennifera, and Rush-leaf Sun Orchid, T. juncifolia. There are many other sun orchids still in bud and hopefully we will see them all open in the next few weeks.

It was not warm enough to encourage the sun orchids to open on the day of the ANGAIR nature ramble in October but we did find a number of treasures that enthralled our members.

Apart from all the orchids mentioned above, the Donkey Orchids, Diuris orientis were possibly the feature as their colourful flowers were seen scattered throughout the area. A display of pure yellow flowers that had opened overnight was spectacular.

 Donkey Orchids
Donkey Orchid

The Anglesea endemic orchid, Bearded Greenhood, Pterostylis sp.aff. plumosa (Anglesea), was seen in a number of places, but it was exciting when Penny’s sharp eyes discovered a few of the Southern Bearded Greenhoods, P. tasmanica, amongst the grasses, and we were able to compare the two flowers. The Heart or Thick-lip Spider Orchid, Caladenia cardiochila, was also admired.

Yes, there should be orchids to enjoy at this site for a number of weeks! Obviously there are other habitats in the Anglesea district that are worth exploring for orchids at this time of the year and we ask you to share any interesting finds with us. It just makes us realise what a wealth of terrestrial orchids we have in our area.

All of these orchids are photographed and described in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.

Margaret MacDonald

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