Friday, September 12, 2014

Mayfly Orchids at Lang Lang

The Lang Lang Bush Reserve is located on McDonalds Track a few km south-east of Lang Lang.

This is another of these little islands of bush amongst cleared farmland that seem to be valuable repositories of indigenous flora and fauna – thank goodness. Also, like many other examples of remnant bushland the Lang Lang Bush Reserve seems to be a great place to dump your rubbish for free, collect a bit of firewood, etc – but I mustn’t get started!

As I ticked Eastern Yellow Robins, Grey Shrike-thrushes, Spotted Pardalotes, Fantailed Cuckoos, etc, I was keeping my eye at ground level, hoping to spot some wildflowers. There was not a lot on offer but some of the old favourite Nodding Greenhoods were still going well.
A nice stand of an old favourite, the common Nodding Greenhood.
 In places the tangle of bracken and other understory shrubs were covering some Acianthus leaves and it was only a matter of some persistent looking to eventually locate some Mayfly Orchids.

Typical Acianthus leaf, including a purple colour underneath.
Mayfly Orchids are not particularly common but can appear in large colonies.
 These dainty filamentous orchids are so insubstantial they can be easily missed.

About 3 or 4 species of Acianthus occur in Victoria.
 The camera finds it tricky to hold them in focus too and sometimes I needed to hold a solid leaf or stick beside the flower head to get the camera to focus.
They flower from July to October.
 When I got the text books out later I discovered Mayfly Orchids have an unpleasant ‘wet dog’ odour as part of their strategy to attract some insect pollinator. I wonder if I can hold that thought in my head long enough to give one a sniff when I next encounter them?

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