The Sex Life of Orchids

A Walk, Watch and Wonder event with Healesville Environment Watch (HEWI)

Nineteen people enjoyed an orchid trail on Sunday October 04, led by our knowledgeable leader Kaye McRae along bush tracks, discovering beautiful orchids, singly and in patches all the way. We were also fortunate to learn more about the biology of orchids from our supporting naturalists Jane and Malcolm Calder.

Malcolm explained how orchids require an associated fungus for essential nutrients and that the fleshy section of an orchid root is where this fungus is active. All orchids are of course protected but this symbiotic association would prevent survival if removed from their local habitat.


introductions - Copy On the track - Copy White Caladenia











Either side of the bush track was liberally sprinkled with a wide variety of orchids; their colorful flowers were such a delight on this sunny day in a dry forest.

We also learned about the invasive habits of weeds – garden escapees that must now be removed by the local Christmas Hills landcare volunteers.

At the first tiny Viola flower Jane explained that insects are attracted to blue flowers, which they can see clearly, but birds see red more readily, so both are most important for pollination. The first Wax-lip orchid found was an albino, unlike the deep purple of most Glossodia major flowers. Blue Love Creeper was common, twined around small shrubs and there were many Chocolate Lilies and Sun Orchids in bud. Some of the orchids occurred in patches – colonies of leaves and small flowers.

Kaye led everyone to ‘lunch with a view’ and when we returned to the Merridew’s carport (and welcome shade), Kaye had prepared a photo mount of all the orchids that we had seen – and those still to flower. HEWI presented each leader with a small gift made from recycled wood by another creative member. How very fortunate we are to live amongst these amazing tiny plants that give us such delight!

Fringed Lily - Copy Caladenia Yam Daisy Spider Orchid