Recently I found the first flowers (for this season) of the tiny Helmet Orchid (Corybas aconitiflorus) flowering near Robertson. This was in a patch of tall wet Eucalypt forest beyond Belmore Falls. Not an area I had seen any Orchids in before. This plant was flowering just above the leaf litter, which is pretty normal for this genus. Strangely, it was a solitary flower, whereas this genus typically grows in large groups of plants.I promised you a better set of photos of the Chiloglottis trilabra on Mt Gibraltar. Here they are.
You can clearly see the "gland" or "pseudo-insect" on the labellum. This is part of the flower, mimicking in scent a wasp sitting on the flower. It attracts male wasps, which pollinate the flower, inadvertently, while trying to mate with the pseudo-insect.
For "Mick", here is the "habitat" in which this flower grows - amongst dry grasses, under a dead wattle tree, on the side of a very rocky hill. It was very hot on The Gib in February and most of the moss beds on the exposed rock surfaces dried out very badly. Many small trees which had grown in the moss beds, died out (including this one). So, a few flat weeds survive, as well as the orchids which were dormant over summer and have re-appeared after the worst of the summer heat had passed. Click to enlarge image, to see leaves and flower of the Orchid (outlined in yellow) and other Orchid leaves to the right.
It takes some practice to find these dark flowers hiding away like this. The paired leaves of the Chiloglottis are fairly easily spotted once you know what to look for. I had, in fact, seen leaves here over a year before, and did not know exactly what they were, but I knew they would turn out to be Orchids - so it was a matter of checking this location on each visit to the Gib, until I found them in flower.