The first Orchids of Autumn are beginning to emerge.  On my walk today I found four Parson’s Bands Orchids in different locations.  All were slightly off the beaten track, but not so far that I couldn’t see them while walking on a track.  All were growing beneath the shelter of a larger plant.  Two of them beneath Xanthorrhoea leaves, and two beneath bracken.

Even with a Macro lens they were awkward to photograph because they are so small and close to the ground.  It was difficult to get both the labellum and the sepals in focus on the same photograph,  so I will need to get in some more practice.  By the time the Spring orchids emerge, hopefully I will have improved my technique sufficiently to get some great photos.

According to David L  Jones book “Native Orchids of Australia”  Parson’s Bands orchids are found in many different habitats, including coastal and forested areas.  They can be white or slightly pink.  Some plants have multiple flowers.  The flowers appear shortly after the first soaking rains of Autumn.  We had a full day of rain a week ago, with some follow-up showers during the week.  It is raining again today, so hopefully I will find more Orchids over the coming weeks.  According to Jones, the flowers can be 12 mm across, but I think the flowers I photographed were smaller than that. My guess is approximately 8 mm to 10 mm.  My guess is that the stems were about 9 cm high.

The flowering period continues through April and into May.

Parsons Bands Orchid
Front view of Parson’s Bands (Eriochilus cucullatus)
Side View  - Parsons Bands
This view shows the extent of the lower sepals.
Parsons Bands from above
Taken at a slight angle, I think this shot is the best of the lot, in terms of seeing most parts of the flower.