There are a number of Australian native orchids which flower in the later months of winter and early spring. In the bushland surrounding his home Don came across a Greenhood orchid (Pterostylis concinna) growing amongst some weeds. He successfully replanted it in a little mulch on the top of a rock. These tiny green orchids are found in clumps in damp sheltered positions in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. Greenhoods are good orchids for temperate regions. They do best in coastal areas with high humidity where summer temperatures are not too high.
An interesting thing about the Greenhood is that the delicate, hooded flowers are pollinated by insects. Nectar glands at the base of the flower attract the pollinating insect, which becomes trapped within the hood. There is a way out, but the insect only escapes after it has been brushed with pollen. It then flies away and pollinates the next orchid it visits.
Greenhood orchids can be grown in the garden or in pots. They are terrestrial orchids and so they don’t grow in soil but should be grown in mulch or orchid mix. Container grown plants should be repotted annually or every second year during the summer dormancy.
‘Field Guide to the Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria’ (Second Edition) by Tony Bishop. Published by UNSW Press. ISBN 0 86840706 2. Cost: $37.95.