Having tantalised us for some weeks with the red tips of their petals and sepals showing at the top of their buds, the Large White Spider Orchid, Caladenia venusta opened its flowers in late September.
Large White Spider Orchid
Although the stems were shorter and the flowers smaller than usual, there were nevertheless some very nice specimens scattered throughout the district. We were thrilled to find about 30 flowers on the roadside verge in Forest Road – they were most spectacular and were greatly admired. However with the rough weather conditions of the first weekend in October, their beauty was short lived. Perhaps there may still be some to open in more secluded places, but we are not too optimistic.
The lack of rain and the unusually hot temperatures have been disastrous for our spring orchids. Donkey Orchids, Diuris orientis, flowered in profusion for a few weeks but they also have succumbed to the conditions, and the brightly coloured flowers have faded quickly.
The Sun Orchids, Thelymitra sp. should be brilliantly catching our eye at this time of the year. However once again they have been very disappointing. Many of them are still in small bud, and unless some late spring rains come soon the flowers will fail to develop. Some species have already self-pollinated, and others have just collapsed due to the dry conditions. However it is not all doom and gloom, and hopefully you may have been able to catch a glimpse of these beautiful orchids or may do so in the weeks ahead.
I have managed to see Great Sun Orchids Thelymitra aristata, Twisted Sun Orchids T. flexuosa, Salmon Sun Orchids T. rubra. Pink Sun Orchids T. carnea, Rabbit Ears T. antennifera, Peppertop Sun Orchids T. brevifolia, Rush-leaf Sun Orchids T. juncifolia, and Slender Sun Orchids T. pauciflora. However they have been few and far between.
A good find was a number of the Southern Bearded Greenhoods Pterostylis tasmanica growing on the firebreak on the O’Donohue heathlands. This orchid is restricted and uncommon in the district.
Southern Bearded Greenhood
You will find photographs and descriptions of all of these orchids in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR or local bookshops.