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With rain predicted, the small group that gathered at Angair on Monday April 12 were nevertheless keen to see an area so close to home that it is often overlooked.

We were pleased to welcome Georgia Kelly and Jake McCorkell, two young TAFE students who were keen to increase their knowledge re the flora of the area. This nature reserve is just so special – no matter what time of the year, there are always treasures to be found.

On entering the Reserve we were amazed to see the number of Rosy Hyacinth Orchid stems with swollen pods that had obviously been pollinated so well by the native bees.

Rosy Hyacinth seed pods

It would be really great if the seeds that fall from the split pods germinate and make new plants – Rosy Hyacinth Orchids Dipodium roseum do not produce additional tubers and are reliant on seed for their growth.

As we walked along the track, signs of other orchids became apparent.

Nodding Greenhoods

Carpets of Nodding Greenhood rosettes Pterostylis nutans were just pushing their way through the damp soil. It certainly seems as though they will have a good flowering season in late winter.

Our small autumn greenhoods were flowering in a number of places. The Tiny Greenhood Pterostylis parviflora and the newly named Brown Tipped Greenhood Pterostylis clivosa challenged people to find them in amongst the grasses where they appeared to be hiding.

Tiny Greenhood

Brown Tipped Greenhood

Growing in close proximity to each other, it enabled us to observe the distinguishing features.

observingObserving Brown Tipped and Tiny Greenhoods

Looking closely you can see the dorsal sepal (Hood) of the Brown Tipped has a rough appearance while the dorsal sepal of the Tiny Greenhood is quite smooth.

A most exciting find were the Fringed Hare Orchids Leporella fimbriata that had just appeared in the last few days. They are rather special – a little like tiny ballerinas.

fringedharesFringed Hare Orchid

Many of the orchid texts say the leaves appear first, but it seems to us that the flowering stalks appear and they are then followed by the distinctive green leaves with reddish veins. The species is a colony former so additional tubers are formed increasing the size of the colony. Many leaves this year but few flowers!

Of course there were many other plants besides orchids for us to recognise and quite a few were added to our plant list for the Reserve.

There were not many species in flower but two highlights were the Prickly Broom-heath Monotoca scoparia and the flowering Austral Grasstrees Xanthorrhoea australis.

Prickly Broom-heath

Male and female flowers of the Monotoca grow on separate plants. The male flowers, with clearly visible stamens are larger than the female. Not sure if this is male or female!

georgiaandjakeGeorgia Kelly and Jake McCorkell with grasstree

The flowering spikes on the grasstrees had developed as a result of the fuel reduction burn in November 2020. Even though the top of this spike had been destroyed, Georgia and Jake were impressed with its beauty. It’s amazing how quickly the vegetation has responded to the recent burn.

The overshadowing rain clouds that had been with us during the morning finally caught up and we made a quick retreat to the Angair rooms for a morning coffee.

Margaret MacDonald