Yes, we have had some rainfall since our last orchid report, but certainly not enough to encourage our autumn orchids to produce flowers in large numbers.
Nevertheless, despite the extremely dry conditions throughout the district, we have had a few successful observations.
Thank you to Helen and Lance who alerted us to a small colony of Fringed Midge Orchids, Corunastylis ciliata, that we featured in our April report. These were flowering in the burnt area near Gum Flat Rd. Although the stems were short and the flowers small and few in number, they were in much better condition than the ones I observed on Forest Rd. Parson’s Bands, Eriochilus cucullatus, that were also featured in our last newsletter, have appeared in many of our orchid sites—sometimes in good numbers. The stems are indeed short and the flowers small but at least there has been enough rain to encourage their growth.
Two more of our autumn orchid species have been observed in a number of sites over the past few weeks—the Tiny Greenhood, Pterostylis parviflora, and the Brown Tipped Greenhood, P. clivosa (formerly P. sp. aff. parviflora). Both species usually have a number of small well-spaced flowers tending to face towards the stem.
The flowers of the Tiny Greenhood are green and white striped while the Brown Tipped has brown-red tips on the petals and sepals.
Brown Tipped Greenhood
Another interesting difference is that the bottom of the opening (sinus) in the Tiny Greenhood projects forward while the Brown Tipped is straight up and down.
Large Autumn Greenhood, Pterostylis sp. aff. revoluta.
We believe that this orchid, which is similar to the smaller flowered P. revoluta that grows in NSW, is in the process of being formally named, and we look forward to getting to know it under its own name.
The Autumn Greenhood is not common in our district although some very good colonies have been observed in good years in the Aireys Inlet district, unfortunately on private land. There used to be a small colony at Gum Flat but these have not appeared recently. Twenty years ago (1999) Everett Foster and I were given permission to translocate a few tubers from private land into the Greenhood Reserve at Aireys Inlet, and nearly every year it has been exciting to see these orchids appear and display their large white and green striped flowers with reddish-brown colourings. This year, in these extreme conditions, a little colony of three flowers is standing proudly at the base of what was once a large Messmate—now just a broken trunk that we hope will continue to provide habitat for this special orchid.
Hopefully there is some rain soon to help our autumn orchids that are struggling in the field at the moment. They are all documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR. Please let us know of your orchid finds.
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.