Continuing listing our observations of greenhoods in the district we can now add two more species that are flowering at the present time, Blunt Greenhoods, Pterostylis curta, and the Dwarf Greenhood, P. nana.
Both species are very distinctive.
The Blunt Greenhood usually grows to about 20cm tall and bears a strong white flower striped with green. The hood curves forward and ends with a blunt tip. The brown, strongly twisted labellum can be clearly seen through the front opening.
In contrast to the strength of the Blunt Greenhood, the Dwarf Greenhood as its name implies, is a very small orchid usually less than 15cm high. It has a small white and green flower with darker green stripes. Both species are colony formers.
I have not yet seen Tall Greenhoods, P. melagramma, or the Green-striped Greenhood, P. chlorogramma, in flower this season although they have been in bud for some time now. The weather has been so cold that the buds are still tightly closed. Maroonhoods, P. pedunculata, are just starting to form buds, although we did see some flowering recently in the rainforest near Grey River.
The orchid of the month needs to be shared between two of our helmet orchid species, the Small Helmet Orchid, Corybas unguiculatus, and the Veined Helmet Orchid, C. diemenicus. These tiny flowers never fail to excite people when seen, usually growing in moist protected sites. Just a few centimetres high, the dark reddish purple flowers contrast brilliantly with their ground-hugging green leaves.
Small Helmet Orchid
Both species have a short slender stalk. The Veined Helmet Orchid is most attractive especially when the sunlight shines through the flared veined margins of its labellum. Veined Helmets form large colonies, while the Small Helmet can be solitary or in small colonies.
Veined Helmet Orchid
The most common of our helmet orchids, the Slaty Helmet Orchid, C. incurvus, is still to produce flowers. Tiny buds can be seen just starting to form at the base of the leaves. When flowering, the small flower appears to sit on the leaf – it does in fact have a tiny stem just 2mm long.
Other orchids are also appearing in the district. The Large Gnat Orchid, Cyrtostylis robusta, is flowering, while many leaves of other species are appearing in large numbers following the excellent rainfalls we have been receiving. Hopefully we will soon get some warm weather to encourage the tubers to produce flowers.
As we said last month it is certainly a great time to be out exploring the orchid world. Please let us know of your successes. Photos and descriptions of all our orchids are found in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from Angair.