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October was certainly a frustrating month as far as our sun orchids went. There were just so many specimens in bud throughout the heathlands, but not many sunny days to entice them to open. However if you managed to be there on that special day you would have marvelled at their beauty.

The Great Sun Orchid, Thelymitra aristata, has put on some magnificent displays, even opening unexpectedly on a few cooler days.


Great Sun Orchid

Another blue sun orchid the Rush-leaf Sun Orchid, T. juncifolia, has also opened quite freely, and the small Slender Sun Orchid, T. pauciflora, opened on the warmer days, but we have not recorded the other blue orchids that usually flower at this time with many just self-pollinating. We did see the odd Salmon Sun Orchid, T.rubra, and Pink Sun Orchid, T. carnea, but it was just fleeting glances – the Pink Sun Orchid on a quite cool, showery day.

The yellow Twisted Sun Orchid, T. flexuosa, opened reluctantly and we were thrilled to find a clump with 7 flowers open while all the other single flowers remained closed – perhaps there was safety in numbers!

Twisted Sun Orchid

We feel the show is almost over for this year, but keep your eyes open for our two rare later flowering species Pale Sun Orchid, T. pallidiflora, that has just started opening, and the Blotched Sun Orchid, T. benthamiana, that is in good bud.

Pale Sun Orchid

Blotched Sun Orchid

Other orchids however have continued flowering well during the cooler weather. We have been absolutely amazed at how many Large White Spider Orchids, Caladenia venusta, have flowered throughout the district and are still flowering well at the end of October.

Large White Spider Orchids

These with the Mantis Orchid, C. tentaculata, should flower well into November. Plain-lipped Spider Orchids, C. clavigera, are still hanging in there. Pink Fingers, Caladenia carnea, and White Fingers, C. catenata, have also flowered in good numbers.

November is a good time to look for Bearded Orchids. We have had a good number of records for the Purple Beard Orchid, Calochilus robertsonii, a few for the Red Beard, C. paludosus, one for Copper Beard, C. campestris, and one possible Naked Beard, C. imberbis.

redbeardRed Beard

Leek Orchids are also appearing throughout the district especially in the recently burnt areas. Unfortunately the larger spectacular species, Tall Leek Orchid, Prasophyllym elatum, appears to be good food for our Black Wallabies, and the excellent display we had in the Fraser Ave area disappeared very quickly. A few others were observed in other recently burnt areas.

tallleekTall Leek Orchid

The Scented Leek Orchids odoratum type are now appearing. We believe we have three varieties in the area – they are often hard to differentiate between, so just enjoy their beauty. An Angair member found a beautiful pink specimen flowering in the heathland.

scentedleekScented Leek Orchid

scented2Scented Leek Orchid

The Red Beaks, Pyrorchis nigricans, that we mentioned in our last Newsletter have produced extensive colonies of flowers enthralling all those who have visited the site that was burnt in April this year.

Red Beaks

Tigers and ducks are roaming the district with Tiger Orchids, Diuris sulphurea, and Flying Ducks, Caleana major, both flowering at the present time. Donkey Orchids, Diuris orientis, are still to be seen in many places. If you have the time and patience to look carefully at the Onion Orchids, Microtis sp., that are just opening you should be able to identify the different species. Also keep on the alert for Small Duck Orchids, Caleana minor, and Cinnamon Bells, Gastrodia sesamoides.

Three tiny orchids Eastern Bronze Caladenia, Caladenia transitoria, the Tiny Caladenia C. pusilla, and the Southern Bearded Greenhood, Pterostylis tasmanica, can be found hiding amongst the grasses.

Is it any wonder that we marvel at the wealth of orchids in the Anglesea district.

If you are out and about please let us know of your orchid finds. We appreciate your support and it is so important to share and record as many sightings as possible.

All of our orchids are documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District unfortunately now out of print. We can assure you a new edition is well on its way to publication.

Margaret MacDonald Alison Watson