Mayfly Orchid (Acianthus caudatus)

I’ve been watching a tiny patch of Mayfly Orchids grow for quite some time, checking on their progress every couple of days.  As they are growing on the edge of a track created by wildlife, I’ve had my fingers crossed that the orchids didn’t become breakfast for a creature before they flowered.  Fortunately, they seem to be left undisturbed – unlike the patch of Blunt Greenhoods.

In previous years, Mayfly Orchids have been relatively plentiful, growing in three or four reasonably sized colonies across the property.  This year I have only found one colony and it is comparatively small, having fewer than ten plants in flower.  I’m not sure of the reason for this, although we have had a relatively cold and dry Winter. Perhaps that has had an impact.  According to D.L. Jones ‘Native Orchids of Australia‘, the  Mayfly Orchids continue to flower into October, so we may have some late developing plants.  I hope so.

Mayfly Orchids are quite distinctive and very striking.  According to Jones, the stems can be as long as 25 cm.  The longest stem on the plants I have seen is about 15 cm, with nearby plants ranging from about 8 cm to 12 cm high.  Most plants have two or three flowers.

The colour and form of the Mayfly Orchid is very distinctive.


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