As I write these notes in mid-August with spring fast approaching, there are certainly many orchid species that could be featured.
The third of our Corybas species, Slaty Helmet Orchid, Corybas incurvus, is flowering at the present time. Very large colonies of leaves have been observed at various sites, but few flowers have appeared. The dark reddish-purple flower with a white labellum boss, and incurved, shallowly toothed labellum margins appears to squat on the leaf—there actually is a very short thick flower stem.
Slaty Helmet Orchid
Both species of gnat orchids, Small Gnat Orchid, Cyrtostylis reniformis, and Large Gnat Orchids, C. robusta, are in flower. The Small Gnat Orchid is a very common species, while the Large Gnat Orchid is rare in our area. It is easy to differentiate between the two species. The Small Gnat Orchid has a grey green heavily veined leaf and the flowers are a dullish brown with a rounded finely toothed to ragged apex on the labellum.
Small Gnat Orchid leaf
Small Gnat Orchid flower
On the other hand, the Large Gnat Orchid has a bright green leaf and the labellum on the reddish brown flower has a short pointed tip.
Large Gnat Orchid leaf
Large Gnat Orchid flower
Greenhoods can be observed in many areas although the number of flowers is certainly less than usual and the flowering stems are not very tall. Blunt Greenhoods, Pterostylis curta, Dwarf Greenhoods, P. nana, Tall Greenhoods, P. melagramma, Nodding Greenhoods, P. nutans, and Maroonhoods, P. pedunculata, are all flowering in the district.
Mayfly orchids with their attractive purple flowers with long slender sepals are beginning to flower, and I saw my first Leopard Orchid, Diuris pardina, in full bloom on Tuesday, August 7.
Mayfly Orchid flower
As we say often, please keep us informed of your orchid observations, especially when orchids are not plentiful.
All of these orchids are photographed and described in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.