It has been a very difficult decision to choose one species of orchid to feature in this month’s Newsletter.
How can one possibly go past the colourful Donkey Orchids Diuris orientis that have been flowering throughout the district in all shades of yellow and brown for many weeks now?
But what about the beautiful Large White Spider Orchids Caladenia venusta that have been flowering in profusion over the last few weeks?
Or can we leave out the grandeur of the sweetly scented Great Sun Orchids Thelymitra aristata that have shown their beauty just fleetingly on those very few warm humid days? Some have been seen growing to 1 metre high with about forty bright blue flowers.
And what about the pink Tiny Caladenia Caladenia pusilla, or the green and brown Eastern Bronze Caladenia Caladenia transitoria, which are both standing just about 10 cm high in amongst the grasses. They seem to be saying “What about us?”
Of course there are many other beautiful species in flower, including Mantis Orchids Caladenia tentaculata, Thick-lip Spider Orchids C. cardiochila, Plain-lip Spider Orchids C. clavigera, Pink Fingers C. carnea and the endemic Angahook Caladenia C. maritima. There have been many look-alike Caladenia maritima reported in the area – they seem to be Caladenia catenata (a species we found a few years ago and which is not recorded in our orchid book) and hybrids between C. catenata and C. carnea. The orchid world is very confusing!
Tall Leek Orchids Prasophyllum elatum, Purple Beard Orchids Calochilus robertsonii and Onion Orchids Microtis sp. are also in flower. And of course, all the yellow, blue and pink sun orchids, many of them not prepared to open in these cool conditions. Some, like the Salmon Sun Orchid Thelymitra rubra, and the familiar yellow Rabbit Ears T. antennifera, are opening freely, but many species are just self-pollinating without showing their beauty. Others are opening briefly. You need to be on the alert when there is a warm day if you want to share this beauty.
Yes, it is impossible to feature all these orchids in this article, but they are all (except for Caladenia catenata) photographed and described in ‘Orchids of the Anglesea District’ available from Angair. Take your copy with you as you walk the heathlands, and say hello to all the species.