The Caleana major, Large duck orchid, has been recorded in the Reserve but we saw it for the first time this week – many thanks to Eileen Laidlaw for the find! It does very much look like a duck in flight.
The orchid is actually upside down. Like the Bird orchids, this orchid mimics a female insect, attracting male sawflys. Once the insect lands on the ‘duck beak’, it is flicked into the body (column) of the orchid by the strap – or ‘neck of the duck’ – where pollinia is hopefully attached or deposited. The Banjorah site has a great sequence of images illustrating this process.
This is a deciduous plant, flowering from September to January and is noted for forming small sparse colonies. This orchid was one of several growing in sandy soil in a section of open forest.
The Red beaks, Pyrorchis nigricans, have flowered again this year. This flower is starting to turn to its the blackened colouring, behaviour which has apparently led to its other name of Undertaker orchid.
These orchids in the Reserve continue to spot flower, especially since the drought broke.
The earlier Bird orchids (Chiloglottis valida), have finished flowering but there are other patches which have begun to produce flowers.
The Copper Beard orchid, Calochilus campestris, made an appearance this year.
The Wax lips, Glossodia major, in a range of purples, have passed their main flowering but can still be seen along many of the Reserve tracks.
Jeanes, J. & Backhouse, G. (2006) Wild Orchids Of Victoria, Australia. Seaford: Aquatic Photographics
Jones, D.L. (2006) A Complete Guide To Native Orchids Of Australia Including The Island Territories. Frenchs Forest: Reed New Holland