Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some LV Orchids

G'day Readers,
Yesterday, Duncan and I took a trip to a couple of well known reserves in the Latrobe Valley where we'd heard there were some orchids in flower. The valley is less than 50 kilometres from us here in central Gippsland, but the weather patterns can be so different as can be the variety of flora.

Our first stop was at the Edward Hunter Reserve in Moe, a place neither of us had previously been to - 'fresh fields and pastures new' I can remember my dad saying!

Part of the wetland area - Edward Hunter Reserve, Moe.

I had to mow some fairways before we could get away, so we arrived just at cuppa time. So eager were we to explore the new territory, we wandered about adjacent to the car park, drinking our coffee as we looked. We hadn't finished our drinks before we had located a 'first tick' orchid for both of us, a Leek-orchid.

Leek-orchid, Prasophyllum sp, (odoratum?).

Please forgive my lack of positive identification for a lot of this stuff, I'm quite new to the game, and at this stage I'm just enjoying the delights of discovering some of these beautiful terrestrial orchids.

We headed off along several walking tracks and with noses to the ground we took numerous detours into the bushland and grassland areas. Compared to our little corner of the world, there seemed to be flowers every few steps.

The next delight was to come across quite a few colonies of the beautiful, (Spotted I guess), Sun-orchid.

Spotted Sun-orchid, Thelymitra sp, (ixiodes?).

In close proximity to the above were some similar flowers without the spots. Probably another specie we surmised, but this one was interesting for the 'bug' that was on the flower. I took shots of several of these plants and only discovered the aphid like insect in most of the pictures once I got them into the computer.

Thankfully, if they were aphids or similar sap suckers, they were not in plague proportion and nor were they to this stage doing any obvious damage to the plants.

We came across another first tick plant for us both, when we climbed up onto a much drier hillside. My photograph doesn't do it justice, but the purple tipped labellum and the general colour and form probably makes it a Honey Caladenia. There was a very useful information board at the car park with an extensive list of the flora and fauna in the reserve and this gave us the clue.

Honey Caladenia, Caladenia hildae?

By now it was after 1pm and we were starting to feel hungry. Back at the ute, with the field guides out, we enjoyed some good reseach time with our lunch.

From Moe we headed straight to the Crinigan Road Reserve in Morwell. Just like at Moe, we were barely out of the vehicle and were standing in a large patch of Green-comb Spider-orchids and Salmon Sun-orchids.

Green-comb Spider-orchid, Caladenia dilatata.

(Blogger seems to be playing up - suddenly I can't get rid of the italics!? Sorry about that.)

Here is an enlarged view of this beautiful orchid, showing some of the intricate detail of the flower.

We quickly explored some of the familiar tracks of the reserve and at one point came across a 'forest' of the Spider-orchids.

Twelve months previous to this, Duncan recalled seeing some Sickle Greenhoods in a damp spot just off one of the tracks. Unerringly he zeroed in on to the spot and we found just a couple of plants of this generally uncommon greenhood.

Sickle Greenhood, Pterostylis sp.

What a day we had! We got home late, tired and dirty, and near full camera cards - you can't ask for much more than that.


  1. Hi Gouldiae
    You had a great day out, didn't you?
    (So did I).
    Anyway, I cannot help with the Prasophyllum, as there are so many species in Victoria, and some have not been "named" yet.
    I always rely upon Colin's "Retired Aussies" site.
    Your Blue Sun Orchid is the Spotted Sun Orchid, T, ixioides.
    The next one might be a plain version of the same species. Not sure, but the column details appear similar on both plants.
    Cal. hildae doesn't look quite right.Try Stegostyla (Caladenia ) transitoria
    Column and labellum look a better match for your flower.
    Sickle Greenhood, would be Pterostylis falcata.
    Hope that helps a little.

  2. G'day Denis,
    Thanks once again.
    I agree with T.ixoides for the Spotted Sun-orchid and I don't know about the plain one either. Your suggestion for C.transitoria is probably right - hildae appears 'mostly above 500m' and we weren't that high. P.falcata for the Sickle seems fine to me.

  3. Hi Gouldiae great day out and a great post love all the orchids.

  4. Hello Goudiae,

    Isn't the "Green comb" a ripper?

    I got Thelymitra ixioides on the 24th Oct. Haven't blogged it yet. I will shortly. I also found some plain blue ones growing nearby. I'll have another look at the photos to check dorsal colour for that violet sort of colour.

  5. Hi Gouldie,
    I enjoyed your day out with Duncan and you.Loved the photos of the fringed spider orchid.I too found some recently .I live in St Agnes S.A
    and have found a really thriving patch about20 min. walk from my home.This year with all our rain they were the best I had ever seen.Hundreds of them .
    I used to live in Gippsland in the early 1980's when I was 1st married
    We were originally from Adelaide and returned back to S.A in 1983.
    My husband graduated from Uni in 1978 and got a job with Esso in Sale.We loved the Victorian Bushland and did lots of walks and exploring.Last year my beautiful Russell died suddenly .One of his favourite sites to visit on the computer was Duncans site or Ben Cruchan .I now visit this site often.Please send my regards to Duncan and I wish him a speedy recovery from his knee surgery..
    Thank you Barb Schulz

  6. G'day Barbara,
    Thanks for dropping by. Rain, you've had rain? Wow. Must admit, we've had a little more than we've been used to lately, but still nowhere near normal. If you were a Gippslander in the 1980's, you'd find the place a bit different now!
    I have passed your comments and best wishes to Duncan. He's probably read them on the blog anyway. Hope to catch up with him tomorrow, Friday.