If you have been keeping a check on the greenhood species we have been describing over the last few months, you will realise that there are still eight species that grow in the district before we reach our target of 19.
Three more species that are flowering at the present time will be included in this newsletter: Maroonhoods, P. pedunculata; Slender Greenhoods, P. foliata; and our endemic species Large Bearded Greenhoods, P. sp. aff. plumosa (Anglesea).
Maroonhoods, P. pedunculata, are usually terrestrial orchids (growing in the soil) and are quite widespread in the district, but they sometimes grow on logs and tree-ferns in moist fern gullies and forests. The single flowers that can be borne on flower stems to 25cm tall are striped green and white at the base, but change to the distinctive reddish brown on the hood that gives the orchid its common name. The lateral sepals are also brown and extend well above the hood.
Slender Greenhoods, P. foliata, are not common in the district. They have relatively small single flowers, white with dark green stripes and often brown-tinted. The hood is curved in a semi-circle and the curved labellum protrudes when in the set position. They have large fleshy leaves scattered up the stem in decreasing size and a loose basal rosette. The top leaf often sheathes the base of the flower. Slender Greenhoods are found in moist sheltered areas of heathy woodland.
A very distinctive orchid, the Large Bearded Greenhood, P.sp.aff.plumosa (Anglesea), is very eye-catching with its unusual birdlike shape. The hood ends in a long point like a beak of a bird, and the labellum, that is a feature of the orchid, is covered with sparse yellow hairs and ends in a darkish knob. Although you sometimes find this orchid in a small group it is not a colony former, as they multiply only from seed. The plant has a crowded basal rosette that extends up the stem. The orchid is confined to the Anglesea district, growing in heath and heathy woodland near the coast.
Large Bearded Greenhood
As there are just so many other orchids to share, we will endeavour to catch up on the five other species of greenhoods next year!
I hope you have managed to see the large colonies of Leopard Orchids, Diuris pardina, growing near the corner of O’Donohue Rd and Harvey St during August and early September. Unfortunately they will most likely have finished flowering by the time you are reading this newsletter. However keep a look-out for our second showier species of Diuris, Donkey or Wallflower Orchids, D. Orientis, that are also showing promise of a good flowering season.
It is a long time since we have seen Gnat Orchids, Cyrtostylis reniformis, flowering so strongly and in such large numbers. This is equally true of Mayfly Orchids, Acianthus caudatus, with some spectacular specimens being seen in many areas. Waxlips, Glossodia major, are just coming into flower, and a few Bluebeard Orchids, Pheladenia deformis, have appeared in the heathy woodlands with their bright blue flowers standing out amongst the low vegetation.
Spider Orchids are appearing in profusion throughout the district and we have already seen four species in good numbers. Small Spider Orchids, Caladenia parva, Plain-lip Spider Orchid, C. clavigera, Thick-lip or Heart-lip Spider Orchid, C. cardiochila, and the rare Red-lipped Spider Orchid, C. oenochila.
Small Spider Orchid
Plain-lip Spider Orchid
Heart-lip Spider Orchid
Red-lipped Spider Orchid
We were hopeful that we might have tracked down the endangered Robust Spider Orchid, C. valida, this year, but to this stage we have not been successful. Mantis Orchids, C.tentaculata, and Large White Spider Orchids, C.venusta, are in bud.
Remember that photos and descriptions of all our orchids are found in Orchids of the Anglesea District available from ANGAIR.