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.
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.
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.