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Saturday, 19 December 2015 04:44

Heaven for Native Orchids in Wahroonga Estate

Wander through the bushland of Wahroonga Estate and you will see the delicate heads of native orchids peeping out from between Sarsparilla (Smilax glyciphylla) and Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata). The first indications that orchid flowers are about to emerge are the tiny leaves – heart-shaped, ovular, arrow-headed – solitary leaves of a variety of shapes that carpet the ground.

Early to mid-spring is the time for Blunt Greenhoods (Pterostylis curta), Rock Tongue (Dockrillia linguiformis), White (Caladenia catenata) and Pink Five Fingers (Caladenia carnea) and Dainty Bird (Chiloglottis trapeziformis) orchids. If you’re lucky, you may catch some late Tall Greenhoods (Pterostylis longifolia), Red Beard (Calochilus paludosus), Early Bonnet (Cryptostylis erecta) or Hyacinth (Dipodium roseum and D. variegatum) orchids.

At other times, the estate is overrun by Greenhoods: Snake (Pterostylis ophioglossa), Cobra (Pterostylis grandiflora) and Nodding (Pterostylis nutans). Translucent Pixie Orchids (Acianthus fornicatus) pepper the undergrowth alongside tiny Spurred Helmet Orchids (Corybas aconitiflorus).

Small patches of Large Tongue Orchids (Cryptostylis subulata) appear. Occasionally, an elusive Mayfly Orchid (Acianthus caudatus) may be seen. And every few years, a Plain Sun Orchid (Thelymitra nuda) or Spotted Sun Orchid (Thelymitra ixiodes) is found.

New varieties are being found continuously, so native plant enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to come and take a close look at our little orchids. Remember to tread lightly and take nothing with you but photos and litter!

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