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All of a sudden after a late start for the spring flowering orchids they are starting to appear throughout the district.

The Leopard Orchid, Diuris pardina, which was featured in our last report, continued to flower in large numbers throughout September. The yellow and brown flowers were delightful to see especially at the top of Messmate Track overlooking Alcoa, where there were many groups scattered throughout the area. We are still waiting for our other Diuris species, Donkey Orchid, Diuris orientis, to appear.

Spider orchids with their hairy stems and leaves are being sighted near many of our tracks. The Small Green-comb Spider Orchid, Caladenia parva, with its comb-like edge to the labellum was one of the first of the spider orchid species to appear. The extremely rare Wine-lipped Spider Orchid, C. oenochila, also flowered throughout September, varying in colour shades of creamy-white to pale-yellowish or almost red flowers. We would love to have more records for this spectacular species.

Wine-lipped Spider Orchid

Heart-lipped Spider Orchids, C. cardiochila, are scattered throughout the district. They are again very variable in colour but easily recognisable by their heart-shaped labellum with thick glossy calli crowded on the top half. Plain-lipped Spider Orchids, C. clavigera, are now also appearing. The first Large White Spider Orchid, C. venusta, was observed on the weekend of the Angair Wildflower Show. It was a thrill to see—quite tall and being supported by a fallen branch.

Large White Spider Orchid

There has been no sign of the Robust Spider Orchid, C. valida, and we are still waiting for Southern Spider Orchids, C. australis, and Eastern Mantis Orchids, C. tentaculata, to appear.

The Finger Orchids, also Caladenia genus, are coming into flower, so keep an eye out for these smaller orchids. Dusky Caladenia, C fuscata, has been flowering for a few weeks now. It is the first of our Finger Orchids to appear each year. Pink Fairies, C. latifolia, are flowering well in the coastal areas where they like to grow.

Unicorn Bearded Greenhood, Pterostylis unicornis, is flowering exceptionally well in open woodlands and heathland. They are very difficult to see against the grassy green of their surroundings, especially when they are still in bud. Go carefully amongst them. When they grow together, they make an impressive group.

unicornbeardedgreenhoodUnicorn Bearded Greenhood

The smaller Southern Bearded Greenhood, P. tasmanica, is in bud and flowers should be opening in the next few weeks. We have been pleased to have a record of the extremely rare Large Pointed Greenhood, Pterostylis x ingens, from the Cecil Track area where there are many Nodding Greenhoods, P. nutans, still in flower. We counted about 10 of these orchids. P. x ingens is a natural hybrid between P. nutans and the spectacular Sickle Greenhood, P. falcata, so P. falcata is obviously hiding somewhere in this area.

Large Pointed Greenhood

Sickle Greenhood

Another rare greenhood–Slender Greenhood, P. foliata–has also been seen in flower.

Slender Greenhood

Maroonhoods, P. pedunculata, have continued to put on a good display while a few Dwarf Greenhoods, P. nana, can still be seen, mostly as single flowers, not in colonies.

Waxlips, Glossodia major, are now opening well in many areas and lots more are in bud. There will be delightful viewings of these colourful orchids within the next few weeks. A few Bluebeard Orchids, Pheladenia deformis, delighted those who managed to see them. Many sun orchids are in bud and the first to flower are the yellow Rabbit Ears, Thelymitra antennifera, which are not so dependent on the sun to open. They have already been seen open on warmer days, while most of the other sun orchids are still in tight bud just hoping for some warmer weather.


Rabbit Ears

Mayfly Orchids, Acianthus caudatus, have been quite abundant, and the colonies of Small Gnat Orchids, Cyrtostylis reniformis, have continued to flower well. The Common Bird Orchids, Chiloglottis valida, have buds and we already have had reports of two flowers open on two different sites.

Common Bird Orchid

Following our great display of Red Beaks, Pyrochis nigricans, in 2021 we have very few to report this year. We need to find this species in a burnt area to see these spectacular flowers.

Red Beak

This is a similar story for the Hare Orchids, Leptoceras menziesii. We have found a few isolated Red Beak flowers and also a few Hare Orchids amongst their extensive colonies of leaves.

The extremely rare Brown Beaks, Lyperanthus suaveolens, are flowering now in our only one known colony, though not as many as last year.

Brown Beaks


Thanks to those people who have let us know of their orchid sightings. We do appreciate your sharing what you have seen. It is a big world out there and many eyes make a difference to our orchid story.

All our orchids are documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District. We are pleased to tell you that the fourth edition is now available and we feel sure you will be a proud owner of this new field guide with its superb photographs and clear, simple and precise descriptions. It has additional records from previous editions and up-to-date name changes at date of publication! It is certainly worth upgrading your old edition. You could perhaps put in a request to Santa!


Thanks to Nicole Beres for sharing her photos of Large White Spider Orchid and Wine-lipped Spider Orchid with Heart-lipped Spider Orchids in the background.

Margaret MacDonald Alison Watson