The summer months have been a quiet period for orchid observations, although some very good specimens have been noticed throughout the district.
We were thrilled to find an extensive colony of Elbow Orchids Thynninorchis huntianus in the reclaimed Tanners Road gravel pits in early December. This was a new record for us. It is a very difficult orchid to find, as it is extremely fragile, growing singly or in sparse groups to no more than 15 cm high. The tiny green and reddish insect-like flowers have the petals and sepals reflexed against the ovary, and the labellum swings freely at the end of the long labellum stalk.
Large Tongue Orchids Cryptostylis subulata flowered well in early December. The large, conspicuous, red and yellow tongue-shaped labella were quite conspicuous in amongst the vegetation in which the orchids grow.
The distinctive leaves are evergreen and can be observed throughout the year. We have only one documented site for this species, near Red River, and would encourage people to share any other known locations. Unfortunately, the small site at Moggs Creek has been disturbed through fire asset protection works.
Horned Orchids Orthoceras strictum have flowered well and have been widespread throughout the district. Unfortunately for us, kangaroos and wallabies appear to find the stems and flowers tasty, and many specimens were grazed just a few centimetres from the ground.
Other summer flowering orchids that we have sighted are Large Duck Orchids Caleana major, Small Duck Orchids Paracaleana minor and Rosy Hyacinth Orchids Dipodium roseum. Many of the Hyacinth Orchids were affected by the extreme temperature on New Years Eve.
We would like to know if anyone saw the following species that may have been flowering in the district: Black-tongue Caladenia Caladenia congesta, Cinnamon Bells Gastrodia sesamoides, Tall Cinnamon Bells Gastrodia procera, Austral Leek Orchid Prasophyllum australe, White Hyacinth Orchids Dipodium pardalinum and