Nice and Early

Eriochilus cucullatus – Parson’s Bands

The Parson’s Bands is a small white flower that appears from late March to May and is reasonably common.  The flowers always appear before the leaves, which can then last some time after flowering has finished.  The whole plant can stand up to fifteen cm high, and usually has one flower per stem, and on rarer occasion can have up to three flowers on one stem.  This orchid appears to like growing in small open places, including rocky places and old tracks.

Eriochilus cuculata (1)

Within the Eriochilus cucullatus species in South Australia there are several subspecies with Eriochilus sp Hills woodland being the most commonly found.  In Victoria only E. cucullatus exists, but there are several other species found in Western Australia.

Eriochilus cuculata (19)

This orchid is believed to be pollinated by a small native bee, which the orchid attracts through its flower’s colouring and scent.  The picture above shows some pollinia on the flower’s labellum.

After it flowers, or towards the end of flowering, the leaves of this orchid begin to appear.  They are a dark green-grey colouring, with a textured top.  If leaves are found at a site, it is probably a good idea to check these areas next autumn for any flowers.

Eriochilus cucullatus

Know Them

2 thoughts on “Nice and Early

  1. fifteenacres


    Thank you for telling me more about the orchid species I found here. Intentions to research it have not yet translated into action, on my part, so it was great to read this. I see lots of leaves around the place, so maybe these are different species or maybe I missed most of the orchids.

    When we moved in (August 2012) we had heaps of orchids leading into Spring. There were ten different species in flower, including large clusters of nodding greenheads, mosquito orchid, waxlip orchid, – a friend who knows a lot about native orchids identified them, but I’ve forgotten all of the names. Anyway, I am hoping these tiny green leaves are signs of orchids to come, not orchids which I missed!!! 🙂

    Lisa, .

    1. Helen Post author

      Lisa, I was thinking of you when I published this post, and thank you for the comment! From what you have published on your blog, you do have some nice orchids. It would be great if you could publish some pictures of the leaves as you find them. I could probably give you some indication as to what genus they are, but not necessarily which species . There are a few differences between the South Australian and Victorian orchids. It looks like your bush is fairly weed free, and that tends to mean there will be more orchids, as orchids do not like weeds. I know several landholders who have been living at the same place for a very long time, and they still continue to find plants that they did not realize were there! Have fun finding the orchids and photographing them!


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