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With the restrictions placed on us all because of the COVID-19 we have limited orchid notes for this month.

We have reports that Fringed Hare Orchids, Leporella fimbriata, which usually flower from April to May, have been in flower for a number of weeks now. Our main site is the Messmate Track area, a section of which is in the process of becoming a sealed road as Coalmine Rd is realigned around the old Alcoa mine site. The orchids that have not been disturbed have appeared in good numbers. Some of the soil where this orchid grew has been relocated to a western facing slope within the mine boundaries as Alcoa rehabilitates the site. We are hopeful that these orchids will appear at the new site but at this stage because of the virus restrictions there is no access. We have however found a good number of specimens flowering in the Elizabeth St Reserve at Anglesea, well inside an exercise area for people who live close by. The flowers are distinctive with the prominent fringed labellum and brownish upright petals that resemble a hare’s ears.

fringedhareFringed Hare Orchids

The Brown-tipped Greenhoods, Pterostylis clivosa, are doing extremely well this year in the burnt Forest Rd areas.

browntippedBrown-tipped Greenhood

The Tiny Greenhood, P. parviflora, which often grows in close proximity, has been observed in large numbers in the Alcoa Conservation Reserve in Fraser Ave and in the adjoining area. Both orchids are easy to identify with their flowers facing inwards towards the stem. The Brown-tipped have obvious brown-reddish coloured tips even when in bud, while the Tiny Greenhood is usually white with narrow green stripes although at times may have a hint of brownish tones.

tinygreenhoodTiny Greenhood

Parsons Bands, Eriochilus cucullatus, continue to flower well throughout the district but especially in the burnt areas where the tiny white flowers stand out against the black of the soil.

Parsons Bands

The Autumn Greenhood, Pterostylis ampliata (formerly P.sp. aff. revoluta), mentioned in last month’s report, flowered well at the Gum Flat site with about 15 flowers— this was exciting as it shows that the colony is increasing. Autumn Bird Orchids, Chiloglottis curviclavia, continue to flower. The leaves of Red-beaks, Pyrochis nigricans, are appearing already, as are a few leaves of Mosquito Orchids, Acianthus pusillus. It is also the time to look out for Banded Greenhoods, Pterostylis sanguinea, which usually start to appear in April.

This is a time to concentrate our observations close to home as we go about our exercise and we hope you are noticing orchids appearing near you. Keep watching and keep well. As usual please let us know of your finds. Hopefully it will not be too long before we can once again venture out to our favourite orchid sites.
These orchids are all documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from Angair.

Allison Watson and Margaret MacDonald