Winter-flowering Orchids

Field Naturalists gathered at Dereel Hall on a fine Sunday morning.  We headed for the bush in Swanson Road to shelter from the cold wind. The sandy soil supported a woodland of Manna Gum Eucalyptus viminalis with a heathy understory.

The first orchid flower we saw was Striated Greenhood Pterostylis striata which has dark green and white striped flowers. Small Mosquito-orchid Acianthus pusillus growing nearby had nearly finished flowering. Emily was able to show us many orchid leaves and identify them using characteristics such as size, colour, shape and hairiness. Large patches of Nodding Greenhood Pterostylis nutans leaves with many large flowers were seen among the Bracken. Other plants flowering in this area were Common Beard-heath Leucopogon virgatus and Common Heath Epacris impressa.

We enjoyed lunch in a sunny, sheltered clearing in bushland off Bliss Road. We were surrounded by Manna Gum with Swamp Gum. The first flowering orchid seen after lunch was Veined Helmet-orchid Corybas diemenicus. The small plants were growing on a bed of moss. One of the rarer orchid leaves was the lone, large (50 mm), fleshy leaf of Red-beaks Pyrorchis nigricans. The distinctive paired leaves of bird-orchids were identified. At the base of a Black Wattle was a colony of Trim Greenhood Pterostylis concinna standing 10 cm tall. Tall greenhoods were sending up flower spikes with leaves along the stem.

Final stop was along Misery Creek Road, Enfield. Here we found our last flowering orchid for the day. The Emerald Greenhood Pterostylis smaragdyna was growing up through tussock grass.

During the excursion we had incidental sightings of Scarlet Robin, White-eared Honwyeater and a variety of fungi.

We thank Emily for showing a range of flowering winter orchids and for explaining the features used to identify the many orchid leaves we saw. There are many places for a return visit during the spring season.

Acianthus pusillus Small Mosquito-orchid

Acianthus pusillus
Small Mosquito-orchid

Corybas diemenicus Veined Helmet-orchid

Corybas diemenicus
Veined Helmet-orchid

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