Searching for and discovering orchids at Anglesea at the present time is just like searching for lost treasure.
We know where the autumn orchids should be, but the environment is just so very dry that only the strongest plants have managed to push their way through the harsh conditions. We did have some rain last weekend, and with the promise of some showers later on, things might improve, and you could experience success with your field visits.
My observations today were limited to two flowering species – Eriochilus cucullatus Parson’s Bands and Corunastylis ciliata Fringed Midge Orchid. I think I also saw a bud of Corunastylis despectans Sharp Midge Orchid. All the flowers I saw – and there were few – were weak and stressed. Nevertheless, they were still very beautiful, and well worth the time taken to appreciate their charm.
Parson’s Bands is widespread in the area, but loss of habitat has seen the decline of numbers of flowers, while the Fringed Midge Orchid is very uncommon, known only from some localised populations near Forest Road.
Parson’s Bands is so called because of the two prominent lateral sepals pointing downward like the bands on a parson’s collar.
The Fringed Midge Orchid’s name comes from the fringes on the margins of the labellum.
There are quite a number of other species that should appear in the next few weeks if the autumn rains eventuate. These include Corunastylis morrisii Bearded Midge Orchid; Pterostylis parviflora Tiny Greenhood; P. sp. aff. parviflora Brown Tipped Greenhood; P. sp. aff. revoluta Autumn Greenhood; Chiloglottis reflexa Autumn Bird Orchid; and C. trilabra Tall Bird Orchid. Please let us know of your observations.
Photos and descriptions of all the orchids that grow in the Anglesea district are documented in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.