The Leopard Orchids, Diuris pardina, have put on a wonderful massed display at O’Donohue Rd.
The profuse flowering has been stimulated by the fuel reduction burn in April 2018. Fire has positive effects on many of our orchids.
Depending on the timing, large colonies of Redbeaks, Pyrochis nigricans, will flower with impressive displays. They are beginning to appear in good numbers in the area burnt on Forest Rd in October 2018. The leathery ground hugging heart-shaped leaves form extensive colonies. At the moment the flowers are quite small, but there are more buds appearing and they should continue to flower for some time. The flower’s dorsal sepal is hooded over the almost hidden fringed labellum. The petals and lateral sepals are narrow and spreading. The red and white flowers will gradually change as they age to a black—hence the name nigricans. The orchid can have up to ten flowers but at present most specimens seem to have just three flowers. The flower stem has thick stem-hugging bracts.
Also influenced by fire the Bluebeards, Pheladenia deformis (or is it once again Caladenia deformis?) are putting on a colourful display—pretty clusters of bright blue flowers with a purple coloured labellum covered with crowded calli. Deformis refers to these congested calli. It has a small slender leaf, and the petals are widely spreading.
Hare Orchids, Leptoceras menziesii, also flower well after fire and the first flower has opened amongst the buds appearing in colonies of variable ovate leaves in the burnt area now. The flower has a curved dorsal sepal over the column, prominent white, curved lateral sepals and tall dark red petals like a hare’s ears.
And then there are the Leek and Onion Orchids, and the Sun Orchids which are also stimulated by fire. The stems of Leek and Onion are growing and some have flower spikes emerging from the stalk. At this stage they are difficult to identify, and we need the flowers to open before we can determine the species. The Waxlip Orchid, Glossodia major (perhaps now Caladenia major) also flowers profusely after fire and the numerous buds are just starting to open presenting a purple haze through the vegetation.
Spider Orchids are beginning to flower now—beautiful Wine-lipped Spider, Caladenia oenochila, Heart-lipped Spider, C. cardiochila, Small Spider, C. parva, Plain-lipped Spider, C. clavigera and the Large White Spider Orchid, C. venusta.
Please let us know of any of your orchid finds. They are all documented and photographed in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.
Alison Watson and Margaret MacDonald