Thanks to those people who contacted me regarding possible sightings of Large Mosquito Orchids Acianthus exsertus described in the June Newsletter.
I have looked at many, quite big and strong Mosquito Orchids over the last few weeks, but am not convinced that I have seen Acianthus exsertus – I will keep looking. I feel it will be obvious once it has been located.
This time last year, we featured the Small Helmet Orchid Corybas unguiculatus as being missing from the area. Subsequently we did find a few, very small flowers. I am pleased to say, that it seems to be having a good flowering season this year, with a few colonies, which contain a number of the tiny, attractive flowers, having been already observed. Please keep a watch-out for this species. It has a heart-shaped leaf, but one which is narrower and pointier, and of thinner texture, than those of Mosquito Orchids. The leaf may be either purple or green underneath. A single, reddish-purple flower appears on a short stalk, about 10–20 mm in height. The dorsal sepal, which is slender at the base, is hooded over the labellum, but does not cover the broad labellum tip. Other species of helmet orchids will also be starting to appear during July.
Winter is the time when we look for greenhoods. Banded Greenhoods Pterostylis sanguinea have almost finished flowering, and just a few Striped Greenhoods P. striata flowered this year. Carpets of the familiar Nodding Greenhoods P. nutans are appearing throughout the district, with some flowers having already opened. Tall Greenhoods P. melagramma are in good bud.
Colonies of Gnat Orchids Cyrtostylis reniformis are producing strong buds, and leaves of Sun Orchids and Spider Orchids are emerging. The rainfall that we are having gives promise of a good winter and spring flowering season. Do share your finds with us.
All of the species mentioned, except for Acianthus exsertus, are photographed and described in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from Angair.