Forestry SA land has some of South Australia’s most beautiful and exquisite orchids growing on its lands. While it is predominately focused on pine tree plantations, it does recognize the importance of conserving our rare and beautiful orchids. Here is a short film by Julian Pitcher, from Victoria, sharing his finds on Forestry land from a few months ago.
The small ducks came out a week or so after filming.
The genus of sun orchids can be quite daunting to identify, but thankfully in South Australia Thelymitra antennifera is the most commonly encountered yellow sun orchid with its distinctive column. It has two common names. Rabbit ears describe the dark red “ears” that sit on top of the column. The second name is Lemon Scented Sun orchid, which describes the soft scent emitted by these flowers.
This sun orchid has thin grass like leaf with a dark purple base. The plants quite commonly have several flowers on them. The flowers are relatively large compared to the small, short stem that holds them.
The Rabbit Ears sun orchid can be found right across Australia from Western Australia into Victoria and Tasmania. It tends to enjoy a slightly opened woodland, and can be often found on the top of ridges and further down in the valleys. It is common, and has a long flowering range. Depending on the region, it can be seen in flower from August to November on any warm day.
This is an attractive little greenhood. It has a distinct maroon top on the flower and its sepal. I’ve only seen this orchid with a single flower per stem. It is a reasonably common orchid, growing in most regions of South Australia, as well as in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
It can often be found in open areas of woodlands, and colonizes easily. It has a relatively long flowering time, first appearing in late July, and sometimes still flowering up until November. There is a small rosette of leaves at the base of the plant. The leaves are crinkled on the top, and spaced wider apart than on other Pterostylis species, such as P. nutans or P. curta.
This is one of the easier orchids to grow. It is quite a hardy little fellow. Often this orchid can be introduced to sites through mulch. The picture on the left shows a maroon hood which was found last year (2012) in the heart of the Adelaide city CBD.
Below is a pretty amazing colony growing in someones front lawn. So for those who really want to grow orchids, this is one of the easier ones to grow. (But don’t remove them from the wild, as that is illegal.)
An unusual colony growing in a suburban front lawn. Special thanks to Gordon Ninnes for permission to use his picture.
It is the beginning of autumn, and that means the orchids will start appearing again. True there were a few flowering over summer, but about now we begin to see the leaves of the winter flowering species and some spring flowering orchids, and occasionally we might find a few autumn flowering species.
So today, I’m going to give you a sample of some of the orchids you could find, each month, during this coming year.
Unfortunately at the moment I’ve been very busy, consequently I have been unable to prepare much for you. However, I’m posting a couple of pictures of some summer orchids, that will begin flowering in time for Christmas.
The hyacinth orchid – this is probably one of the most photographed orchid in the Adelaide Hills, as the whole plant can be about two to three feet high.
Moose Orchid – This is probably a flower you won’t see in South Australia, as it is very rare, and grows in swamps. However it is more common in the eastern states but does not need to grow in a swamp. Its leaves look like the leaves from gum trees.
Duck Orchid – this is actually out at the moment, and would have to be a favourite flower for everyone.
I’ve been fairly busy this past week so I have not had much time to prepare today’s post. Consequently I will be just showing you a few pictures, again taken with my phone. This was from a site in the Adelaide Hills which is actually currently for sale. The site was of reasonable quality with not many weeds, and quite a few species of orchids.
Microtis arenicola – Notched Onion Orchid
Thelymitra juncifolia – Spotted Sun Orchid
Wanting a bit warmer day to open
Not an orchid, but a chocolate lily
This is not an orchid, but I’m sure someone from my audience can tell me what it is, but I think it is really pretty to look at.
This is a very common donkey orchid, which is always a pleasure to find on a plesant spring day.
These orchids have very vivid colours making them easier to identify
It would have to be one of the most striking, , spring flowering orchids. In a field of flowers they are quite spectacular, and will often be found with other spring flowering orchids including Diuris pardina (which it commonly hybridizes with), Glossodia major, and Thelymitra sp. It flowers from September to November, and is found from Western Australia, right across the southern region of Australia to Victoria and Tasmania.
A healthy colony of plants
This orchid has been observed to grow in a variety of habitats and soil types. It will regularly form colonies which can be very spectacular.
A yellow variety
There is a yellow variety of this orchid. In South Australia this variation is not particularly common. Contrastingly in the eastern states, they mainly have the yellow variety and less of the colourful variety that we have here. Personally I like the colourful one better. There is reasonable variety between the flowers with some have a deep maroon to vivid purple and sometimes white on the labellum.