Neighbours mentioned seeing orchids close to home a few weeks ago. I failed to find them. However, we embarked on another ramble on 1st October. This time we explored a mossy, rocky bank close to the road. It was seeping with recent rain and offered a tangle of grass and moss and trigger plants. While I was trying to capture the detail of the trigger plant flowers, my companion prowled off up the slope. I heard him say “When you’ve finished, there’s something here I want to show you.”
It was a splendid mauvey-purply-bluey orchid, about 5 cm from dorsal sepal to the tip of the lateral sepals. Three more modest companions were close by.
The search for ID began when we returned home. We finally satisfied ourselves that it was a Glossodia major, and swore again that we’d master the naming of parts. Jones told us that the pollinators are small native bees.
We listed things crucial for final ID to look at on a visit the next day: the leaf, long and wide, was hidden amongst baby eucalypts and grass. In this photo the stem has a kink in it close to the ground.
and the detail in the throat: the yellow calli, the white and mauve labellum (a modified petal) and the purple column (the style and staminal filaments).
We’d been waiting for four or five years to spot another Glossodia. We came across our first ones in the early days of orchid spotting, beside the track and in the bush towards Lake Brunderee near Potato Point. The habitat was completely different: dry and open.
Even the discovery of a very fat leech on my leg and the appalling itchiness for the next few days didn’t diminish my pleasure in this find.