With the sun orchid season coming to an abrupt end, there are just two late species that you may see flowering in the district – Blotched Sun Orchid Thelymitra benthamiana and Pale Sun Orchid Thelymitra pallidiflora.
Both species are uncommon in the area, and we would be interested to know if you find them on your field excursions. Both are very distinctive orchids.
Thelymitra benthamiana has greenish-yellow flowers, with numerous reddish-brown spots and blotches. The column is yellow with wings that are deeply fringed. The ovate basal leaf, approximately 90 mm x 35 mm, is also very distinctive.
Thelymitra pallidiflora, as its name suggests, has pale flowers, from white to very pale blue. The column is also pale blue, black-capped, with a deeply v-notched, yellow apex. The column arms end in white hair tufts. The leaf is to 25 cm long, and varies in width to 12 mm. Once thought to be endemic to the Anglesea district, it is now known also from Crib Point in south central Victoria.
Other orchids to look out for are the four species of bearded orchids Calochilus sp. The Purple Beard Orchid Calochilus robertsonii is widespread and common in the district, but the other three species are uncommon or rare. We have had a good number of Red Beard Orchids Calochilus paludosus this season, but observations of Copper Beard Orchids C. campestris and Naked Beard Orchids C. imberbis have not been reported. Please let us know if you do manage to see them.
Leek Orchids Prasophyllum sp. and Onion Orchids Microtis sp. are having a good season. Large Duck Orchids Caleana major and Small Duck Orchids Paracaleana minor are flowering in various sites, exciting people who find them. Stems of Hyacinth Orchids Dipodium roseum are appearing in many places. Summer is also the time to look for Cinnamon Bells Gastrodia sp., Horned Orchids Orthoceras strictum, and the rarer orchids, Elbow Orchid Thynninorchis huntianus and Large Tongue Orchid Cryptostylis subulata. Please keep your