Today Mrs Gouldiae had her day in court in Morwell – inside the jury pool room I hasten to add – waiting to discover if she was to be empanelled. Not being one to miss an opportunity I tagged along gallantly, remarking, “Oh, I’ll find something to occupy my time while you do your civic duty.” And so it was off to the Crinigan Road Bush Reserve as soon as the glass doors of the courthouse slid closed behind her.
I was hopeful of coming across a couple of favourite terrestrial orchids that this little bit of saved bush is known for but I also thought it was just a bit too early in the season. Plenty of the usual – Early Nancies, Milkmaids, Love Creeper, Rice Flower and some nice colonies of Blue Stars and some Twining Fringe Lily.
|Blue Star. Endemic to southern Australia. Tuberous roots are a bush tucker.|
|Twining Fringe Lily. Perennial climber/twiner.|
In several spots within the reserve, the committee/friends/volunteers (?), have posted some ‘No Mow’ signs and it was these sites I was keen to check. My luck was in. At the first site I eventually found just two examples of the Green-comb Spider-orchid, another largely southern Australian specialist. There was quite a bit of leaf about, so I reckon in a week’s time the place will be a picture.
|Green-comb Spider-orchid. Can tolerate a variety of habitats.|
|Mutalistic relationship with an unknown fungus.|
Pushing my luck a bit further I headed downhill to the creek bed and on the way nearly trod on some Bird Orchids. This little orchid inhabits parts of NSW, the ACT and the eastern half of Victoria and it likes damp shady habitat.
After pushing through the tea tree scrub, ankle deep in mud and water I eventually found the prize of the day. A tall greenhood with a large flower stood out from a couple of metres away and I was able to slosh a little closer for some shots. You don’t find many greenhoods growing in this habitat.
|Look closely in the top left hand quarter of the image.|
The unusual Swamp Greenhood is closely associated with the water loving tea tree species that grows here. It prefers seasonal inundation, but if drought conditions occur the Swamp Greenhood is capable of lying dormant for some time. In several places in Victoria and South Australia, recovery plans have been established to protect this vulnerable orchid.
|Swamp Greenhood. Worth the struggle.|
Phone call, “Didn’t get empanelled, where will I meet you? What did you end up doing for several hours?”