Having searched for a while for new season Orchids, today I found my first local flowers of the Nodding Greenhood (Pterostylis nutans) for this season.
These plants were growing in dark sandy soil, on a raised bank, in a really well drained position (even though it is in a dense Eucalypt forest). We are talking about a dense Eucalypt forest in a high rainfall area, but this is by no means "wet forest" - the plants are growing in dry leaf litter on open ground.
These plants are low-growing, with short stems, (about 4 inches long, in "the old money"). From memory, that is about 10 cm tall.
Their leaves are small rosettes on the ground, with a slightly "crystalline" appearance. The leaves generally look a bit crinkled.
Just a few metres away from the Nodding Greenhoods, is a cluster of the Tall Greenhood (Bunochilus longifolius). They were growing in a steep bank, on the edge of an old excavated cutting (possibly a loading point used when the forest was being harvested for timber). The cutting is less than 2 metres deep, but its "aspect" seems to be important, for this species grows there, not on the more exposed flatter (and drier) position where the Nodding Greenhoods are found.
These flowers are almost transparent in parts, with a very distinctively hairy "labellum" which is creamy coloured, with a dark stripe down the centre. As has been discussed before, the labellum on these plants is sensitive to movement or touch, and "springs closed" (up inside the "hood") if triggered by the presence of a pollinating insect (a gnat or a mosquito).The side view of the lower flower shows the shaped "labellum" with its tip bent quite markedly. This species has been flowering around the district for some time.