Our native orchids are truly fascinating. They are so easily overlooked yet when noticed and closely inspected their delicacy, structure and colours are astonishingly beautiful. They are a great gateway to the world of ‘macro-nature’. They get us on our knees and into the world of the spiders, insects and other plants that live close to the earth, ‘below knee-height’.

The ELZ is ‘orchid rich’ although it takes a lot of searching to appreciate the full extent of this richness. Most species only appear for a fleeting few weeks a year. Many reappear in the same location each year, others are much more elusive.

Finding Orchids in the ELZ

The ELZ Orchid List has been compiled from all known previous records and includes all appropriate information for an official list. The list is based in the taxonomy used in Jones 2006.

To facilitate local use the ELZ Annual Orchid Record can also be downloaded. This is a single page list with common names in alphabetical order and with reference to the Co-op Orchid Field Guide numbers. It is for easy use in the field and as a monthly record of the species observed each year.

The Work of Dean Rouse

We are indeed lucky that Dean Rouse, in his youth, spent a considerable time combing the Co-op and surrounding area with his grandmother, Hazel Rich, who was a member of the Co-op for many years. Dean photographed more than 50 species and later donated the photos to the Co-op to form the basis of the Field Guide to the Orchids of Round the Bend Conservation Co-operative. This booklet has been available since 1999. Over the last few years a small group of local enthusiasts have been searching the area, trying to find the species listed. In doing this we have found a few others to add to the list.

In 2007 Dean produced a Hazel Easter Rich Orchid Field Guide dedicated to his grandmother Hazel Rich, who passed away in 2006. The guide is based primarily on the orchid lists for Round the Bend Conservation Co-operative compiled by Hazel and Dean, and the list for One Tree Hill Reserve compiled by Cam Beardsell. Other orchid species with highly restricted distributions within the Christmas Hills region are also listed in the guide.

BICA and the Co-op thank Dean Rouse for his generous gift of this document and for sharing his knowledge of our local orchids. All material remains the copyright of Dean Rouse.

Searching for orchids is a great excuse to explore the wonders of our beautiful area. Any time you go out, if you don’t find an orchid, you are sure to find something else to fascinate you such as a wildflower, an insect that may acting unusually or some strange fungus.

If anyone finds an unusual orchid, or needs some identification assistance, contact Frank Pierce at jmandfp@bigpond.com as a first step. Referral to others with better knowledge may be required!

Suggested Further Reading:

Jones, D.L. (2006). A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia, Including the Island Territories.
Jeans, J. & Backhouse, G. (2006). Wild Orchids of Victoria.
Backhouse, G. (2011). Spider orchids – the Genus Caladenia and its Relatives in Australia – 2011. DVD available from Gary Backhouse,  GaryNelsonBackhouse@gmail.com

More Links

These websites contain many photos that are very useful to aid identification.