Dragonfly Environmental

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It is Orchid Time

image001Many species of orchids can still be found in bushland reserves in rainforest, heathland, open forest, grassland, swamps, by the sea or inland, and in either moist or dry conditions.

Orchids not always visible as they have part or all of their leaves underground. and it The ubderground tubers (tuberoids) are usually small and white. OS if your digging and you find them – put them back J with care.

Most ground orchids have a dormant period when they remain underground (mostly during the summer months).  Others such as Cryptostylis species (green hoods) are evergreen. They are also all Wasp Pollinated. ,

The leaves and flowering stem start to fade soon after flowering finishes and they live off nutrients stored in their underground tuberoids during their dormant period. After good autumn rains, the plants sprout, the leaves and flowering stem grow and the cycle begins again. The flowering period is relatively short, ranging from a few days in some cases to several weeks for others. It often depends on how soon an insect pollinates the flowers as to how long they remain in flower.

As a result of all this and because orchids are probably only really noticed when they are in flower, I think it is a good idea for bush regenerators to be able to recognize the leaves of orchids.

In Lilli Pilli Reserve (in Sutherland Shire in the south of Sydney) we have often cleared rock outcrops completely when they have been covered in dense mats of asparagus, thinking that it is easier in the long run for bush regenerators to have cleared rock surfaces. However, it has been noticed that when the asparagus root system has been left on the rock (after being killed), that there are now terrestrial orchids and other seedlings regenerating naturally.

Either there has been a seed bank there, or the root system has provided a suitable bed for seeds to develop. Obviously this would not be a consideration in all situations, but is worth thinking out.

Avoid having people or sprayers in areas where orchids grow!