Cardinia Shire has some wonderful Australian Terrestrial Orchids many of which can be found in the Beaconsfield area. Most flower in autumn, winter or spring. However a small group of species flower during our summer. The Hyacinth Orchid Dipodium punctatum grows to be tall and showy and is often seen on roadsides even while driving through our rural or bushland areas.
Another stunner is Austral Ladies’ Tresses Spiranthes australis which is small, elusive and it prefers damp or swampy habitats. The tiny flowers form a spiral up the stem. On December 30th 2017 the Australian Plant Society-Wilson Park Berwick and the Cranbourne Friends –RBGV combined to recognise the work Robin Allison and Parks Victoria have done to protect a colony at Cardinia Reservoir Park.
Since growing up in the Berwick area Robin has been intrigued by Terrestrial Orchids and has learned the hot spots for orchids, particularly in Melbourne’s south east. Some years ago Robin was concerned that Spiranthes australis, in a swampy area below the Cardinia Reservoir spillway, were being threatened by 4WD’s driving through the damp area and destroying their habitat. Robin went to the Parks Victoria office and made a polite but firm request they take corrective action. When Robin went back about a week later she was delighted that Mick van de Vreede of PV had promptly installed bollards to protect these precious tiny orchids. Since then no 4WD’s have accessed the area and Mick has ensured that mowing of grass is deferred until after the plants have flowered and set seed. Now we can continue to enjoy these special little plants.
By Alex Smart