Recognising orchids: a walk with the LV Field Nats

Fine day for exploring Moe’s Reserves

It was a fine day for a walk at the end of July, through the Ollerton Avenue Bushland Reserve, located in the northeast of Moe and walking with the LV Field Nats was a great opportunity to learn to recognise birds and plants. There are quite a few different orchids on display and it was a treat to be shown them by people knowledgeable about such things. It also meant that once you knew what to look for, it was then possible to find it elsewhere.

At the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve, afterwards, the sunny weather continued and we walked along the Coral Fern Walk and back around to the east of the reservoir. The ‘birdos’ in the group pointed to a wedge tailed eagle, spotted pardalote, golden whistler and many other birds; first,  identified by sound and then with a good pair of binoculars.

The group pointed out the vivid coral fungus, the twining silkpod climber and also a number of weeds, currently in low number but with the potential to become invasive, such as this climbing creeper in the A Frame car park.

Shows Clavaria miniata, "Flame fungus", Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Clavaria miniata, “Flame fungus”

Shows Twining Silkpod, Parsonsia brownii, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Young plant, Twining Silkpod

Shows Twining Silkpod, Parsonsia brownii, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Twining Silkpod, Parsonsia brownii

Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Introduced species – potential weed

Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Potential weed

Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Climber in the A Frame carpark – weed

They also pointed out the orchids.

Something about orchids

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This orchid, Pterostylis nutans, is flowering at present, in clumps pointed out by a member of the LV Field Nats. The Nodding greenhood looks just like a prawn, although pale green in colour. It flowers in winter and spring, dying down to its underground tuber during summer. Pollination occurs via gnat, attracted by scent. This orchid also has a mycorrhizal relationship with fungi.

Here, too, is a range of orchids which will be getting ready to flower later in the season.

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Sources and further resources

For an account of how nodding greenhoods pollinate, survive and grow:  ‘#26 Greenhoods get the nod’ from Hunter Valley Backyard Nature (2007). http://hvbackyard.blogspot.com.au/2007/08/26-greenhoods-get-nod.html

This paper discusses the specific fungi associated with Nodding Greenhood and reinforces the importance of preservation of orchids that considers the context they grow in:

Irwin, M.J., Bougoure, J.J. &  Dearnaley, J.D.W.(2007) Pterostylis nutans (Orchidaceae) has a specific association with two Ceratobasidium root-associated fungi across its range in eastern Australia, Mycoscienc, 48 (40), 231-239. https://eprints.usq.edu.au/3089/1/Irwin_Bougoure_Dearnaley_2007_Authorversion.pdf

Australian Native Plants Society (2007) Pterostylis nutans. http://anpsa.org.au/p-nuta.html

Jones, D.L. in PlantNET – The Plant Information Network System of The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia (n.d.) Acianthus exertus http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acianthus~exsertus

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