Highlighted in our February orchid report, the Rosy Hyacinth Orchid, Dipodium roseum, continued to impress through the summer months as it flowered throughout the district, although many flowering stems were grazed by hungry wallabies or kangaroos.
We did not manage to find the Spotted Hyacinth Orchid, Dipodium pardalinum, but a keen walker and orchid enthusiast, Jacqui Arnott, alerted me to a white hyacinth orchid that she had observed on Moggs Creek Track. Unfortunately, she did not have a camera with her at the time. Feeling that I had followed Jacqui’s directions carefully I was disappointed not to be able to locate the orchid. Jacqui however revisited the site only to discover that the beautiful flower she had described had disappeared. We assume wallaby or kangaroo food—they have no respect for our orchids!
Not to be defeated, Jacqui scoured the area and found a second specimen much higher up on the hillside. She said it was nowhere as spectacular as the first one, but when I climbed the steep track, I was thrilled to see the second flower.
Dipodium sp. (hypochromic)
As the flowers were pure white with no sign of stripes or spots on the labellum it was impossible to identify the species—was it Dipodium roseum or D. pardalinum? Flowering stems of D. roseum were observed in the area and there were a few very pale ones. We have not had a record of D. pardalinum at Moggs Creek but we cannot come up with the answer. What we can say is that it is a hypochromic form of a hyacinth orchid.
Pale Rosy Hyacinth
A hypochromic form arises through the blocking (by a genetic mutation) of the pigments which produce the strong colours. We have recorded the site and we will definitely monitor the area next summer. It shows just how important it is to share orchid observations and we thank Jacqui for alerting us to these specimens.
As summer fades away, be on the watch for our early autumn orchid species. Midge Orchids’ Corunastylis sp., should be starting to appear. With our five km limit, we revisited nearby tracks and were pleasantly surprised to discover Midge Orchids flowering with lots more in bud. This seems to be earlier flowering than usual, perhaps due to the high rainfall in January. It was lovely to find these freshly opened flowers, both Bearded Midge Orchids, Corunastylis morrisii, and a few Fringed Midge Orchids, C. ciliata.
Bearded Midge Orchid
Fringed Midge Orchid
The Sharp Midge Orchid, C. despectans, is usually our first midge orchid to flower but the area where they grow was visited just prior to lockdown and no flowers were found. A more recent visit on February 18 discovered five tiny specimens.
Sharp Midge Orchid
Fringed Midge is a yellowish green colour with a reddish labellum which compares with the Bearded which is a more overall purplish colour with a heavily fringed labellum. It was interesting to notice the tremulous labellum—trembling in the breeze. Sharp Midge has tiny petals and sepals that point downwards.
We also found several fertilised Horned Orchids, Orthoceras strictum, in areas not previously seen in the Forest Rd area. Leaves of some of our other species such as Autumn Wasp Orchid, Chiloglottis curviclavia, (formerly C. reflexa) are emerging with the late summer and early autumn rains. Parsons Bands, Eriochilus cucullatus, and Autumn Greenhoods, Pterostylis ampliata, (formerly P. sp. aff. revoluta) could be coming into flower. Hopefully the lockdown will soon be lifted and we will be able to explore our regular autumn orchid areas.
Many of our autumn orchids are not easy to find so please let us know of any of your discoveries. They are all documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from Angair.
Margaret MacDonald and Alison Watson