We really are enjoying walking in the Wychitella Nature Conservation Reserve at this time of year. It’s spring, the wildflowers are everywhere, the colours and varieties so diverse.
A few weeks ago in among the bushes flashes of purple colour seemed to be everywhere. They are the easily recognisable and quite large Wax Lip orchids. The Wax Lips were preceded earlier in the month by the more subtle colours of delicate pinks and blues of the Caladenias, smaller orchids, but beautiful. In some places we have also seen the lovely creamy white Hooded Caladenia orchids.
The commonly seen orchids of our district come in many colours. The yellow and brown of Leopards, the Purplish Beard orchid and the many forms of Greenhood. With hotter days we have been fortunate to see some small populations of Sun Orchids which only open up when the temperature is warm enough. On one morning walk we were surprised to find a few groups of Rabbit Ear orchids fully open, early in the morning.
This area also has some special orchids. Green Comb Spider orchids seem to be favourite food for wallabies and it’s wonderful to spot one of these spectacular orchids in flower.
The delight we experience when observing these beautiful wildflowers in the bush is because they are special plants and an important part of the biodiversity of nature. When talking to older community members they describe how decades ago wildflowers were in abundance in some favourite places and how they were picked by the armful. It is an important message that over the years the numbers and variety of species of wildflowers have decreased along with suitable habitat for them.
Take the opportunity to admire and appreciate the wildflowers that are still present in the bush. Take photos and leave the flowers there for future generations.
Article and photo by Annette Robertson (Wedderburn Conservation Management Network "Observers")
Figure 1: Wax Lip Orchid (Glossodia major) at Wedderburn