It is amazing just how quickly the flush of our spring orchids came to an end. In the beginning of November there were some magnificent hybrids between the Large White Spider Orchid, Caladenia venusta, and the Mantis Orchid, C. tentaculata, and we are pleased to share Graham Lee’s great photos with you.
L-R Large White, Hybrid, Mantis Orchid
Our Sun Orchids, Thelymitra sp., had a very disappointing season as the weather conditions were not conducive to flowering, and many species just self-pollinated. Two Thelymitra sp. that are late-flowering and managed to score some fine sunny days have shown their beauty to many of our keen orchid hunters. The Pale Sun Orchid, Thelymitra pallidiflora, was seen in many places around Anglesea and also at Aireys Inlet. However, by mid-November they had also finished flowering. They can be identified by the pale flowers and a v-notched yellow apex on the column and fluffy tufts on the column arms.
Pale Sun Orchid
The other sun orchid that delighted observers in early November was the Blotched Sun Orchid, T. benthamiana. This is the only sun orchid that has an ovate rather than linear leaf. The brown-spotted greenish flowers have a distinctive column with fringed column arms. We hope you may have managed to see these two species.
Blotched Sun Orchid
Bearded Orchids also appeared in late October and early November and our four different species have been observed in a variety of areas. Although the flowers are short-lived they were often seen along the sides of the bush tracks and also in amongst vegetation in the heathlands. The Purple Beard Orchid, Calochilus robertsonii, is the most common species. It has a densely hairy, purple labellum with two purple glands at the base of the column. Naked Beard Orchid, C. imberbis, is an attractive orchid with a beard that lacks any hairs on the labellum. We were thrilled to observe some fine specimens of this rare orchid in the Flaxbourne Rd area. The Red Beard Orchid, C. paludosus, is interesting with its red hairy beard ending in a naked tip. It is the only beard species that lacks the eye-like glands at the base of the labellum, and the Copper Beard Orchid, C. campestris, has two metallic-blue plates at the base of the labellum.
The Flying Duck Orchid, Caleana major, is flowering well with some tall specimens to be seen. The Little Ducks, Paracaleana minor, are also starting to flower. They are both found in gravelly soils and disused gravel pits, as well as on the edges of some of our bush tracks. The Little Ducks are much smaller and harder to see but have an impressive flower with a warty covering to the labellum of the duck-like flower.
Little Duck Orchid
An interesting rare Leek Orchid which has not been recorded this season is the Tawny or Elegant Leek Orchid, Prasophyllum barnettii. Although a few specimens were translocated last season to enable the alignment of Messmate Track, our major colony obviously needs a burn to stimulate flowering. The Scented Leek Orchid, P. odoratum, has also been seen. Currently more research is being undertaken on this orchid that should clarify if the variations that are in our orchid book may be regrouped into the one species. It is a complex situation.
Scented Leek Orchid
A late flowering Greenhood Orchid, the Mountain Greenhood, Pterostylis alpina, has been seen along track edges in Lorne, though unfortunately the flower heads were nipped off—local wallabies? We have records of this species from Moggs Creek Track but they could not be located this year, possibly lost to track works. Cinnamon Bells, Gastrodia sesamoides, are starting to flower now with their scented, white-tipped, bell-shaped flowers on long slender stems. This could be a good year for them with the recent good rainfall in winter. However, the flowers appear to be very short-lived.
We did manage the trek into Breakfast Creek off Denham Track to view the large Sickle Greenhood, Pterostylis falcata, that grows in swampy areas. It was a real gumboot experience (that we didn’t have).
Flowering stems of Hyacinth Orchids, Dipodium sp., are starting to appear and will flower over summer. Also look out for the Large Tongue Orchid, Cryptostylis subulata, Horned Orchid, Orthoceras strictum, and the elusive Elbow Orchid, Thynninorchis huntianus.
Please let us know of any of your orchids finds. They are all documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from Angair.
Alison Watson/Margaret MacDonald firstname.lastname@example.org