Invasive orchids get the boot

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) faced an unusual task during their last working bee for 2015 – finding and removing the tenacious South African orchid Disa bractreata.

The highly invasive orchid species first appeared in Victoria in the mid-1990s after being introduced in Western Australia in 1946. Read more

Rare orchid flowers following fire

Autumn orchids are flowering across the Surf Coast including a rare species which rarely flowers unless stimulated by fire.

The Fringe Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald
The Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) sighted a number of orchids during their nature ramble walk, including the Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata).

Orchid expert Gary Backhouse said while the species is common in Western Victoria, with some colonies containing many hundreds of plants, the Fringed Hare Orchid only flowers under special conditions.

“It flowers well only after summer bushfires, with only a small proportion (sometimes none) in flower in the absence of summer fire.”

ANGAIR member Yvonne Coventry said she was one of five who had sighted the orchid.

“The area has undergone a burn in the last 12 months so there were a number of different plants coming up including a small patch of Fringed Hare Orchids.

“The Fringed Hare Orchid is very beautiful and very rare,” she said.

Mr Backhouse said the Fringed Hare Orchid does not only flower in specific conditions, but requires specific circumstances for pollination as well.

Winged male ants pollinate the plant by attempting to mate with the labellum (part of the petal that forms a lip) as they are attracted by the orchid’s scent which mimics that of a female ant.

“The winged males usually emerge from their nests only in warm, humid conditions, often just before rain, and have a very short flight period.

“There may be some years when orchid flowering and male ant emergence do not coincide, and very few, if any, flowers will be pollinated.”

Fringed Hare Orchid 2

Other orchids spotted by ANGAIR members this month include over thirty Fringed Midge Orchids (Corunastylis ciliate), a species which had not yet been sighted this year and the Parson’s Band Orchid (Eriochilus cucullatus).

ANGAIR and Friends of the Eastern Otways member Margaret MacDonald said there are 110 species of orchids in the Anglesea area and that there were many things we don’t yet understand about the plant.

“All orchids are rare and protected and they interest me because of their beauty, uniqueness and complexity.

“People can get involved by joining the Australasian Native Orchid Society which is based in Geelong or by contacting ANGAIR and arranging a walk,” she said.

ANGAIR holds guided walks every second Monday of the Month.  To learn more about orchids on the Surf Coast or to get involved please contact the ANGAIR office on: 5263 1085 or visit  

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

Related Blog Posts:

swamp-diuris-diuris-palustris1 Rare orchid Survives on edge
spider-orchid-smallANGAIR wildflower show this weekend
kookaburra Indigenous gardens come to life

Rare orchid survives on edge

A little known orchid is existing on the Jan Juc cliff top, its precarious survival an unexpected and happy surprise for local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA).

The rare and state significant orchid Swamp Diuris (Diuris palustris) formerly populated areas near Melbourne but became locally extinct due to urban development.

JJCA has been working to ensure the orchid’s survival.  In 2010 the group pollinated the flowers and collected seed.  The delicate operation consisted of members getting down on their hands and knees to pollinate the tiny orchid flowers with tooth-picks.

Graeme Stockton and Roma Edwards from JJCA in the process of planting minute “home grown” Diuris seedlings. PHOTO: Ian Edwards

JJCA member Ian Edwards was one of the volunteers assisting in the project.

“We simulated the action of the tiny native bees or wasps that may be the natural pollinator and by late summer it was possible to collect some of the dust-like seed,” said Mr. Edwards.

Last year JJCA volunteers also found large numbers of Sun Orchids (Thelymitra spp.) and Onion Orchids (Microtis spp.) in the remnant native grassland of the Jan Juc clifftop, these also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.

JJCA Chairman Luke Hynes said like the Swamp Diuris, the Sun Orchids and Onion Orchids also rely on the presence of specific soil fungi and specific insect pollinators.

“We had seen few previously, but with the regular rainfall this year there is a profusion,” he said.

JJCA Committee member Graeme Stockton said the introduction of foreign pasture grasses, and invasion by a host of weeds and escaped garden plants have crowded out much of the original vegetation.

“We are amazed that so many indigenous plants have survived the past century and a half and they deserve all the assistance we can provide,” he said.   

Springtime brings an abundance of wildflowers along the coast – what have you spotted this season?

To get involved with JJCA  contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438

ANGAIR Wildflower Show this weekend!

With the end of September fast approaching, the annual ANGAIR Wildflower Weekend and Art Show is on again, offering an opportunity to experience amazing wildflower displays, wildflower walks and tours, kids activities and much more.

Orchids, such as this Spider Orchid, will be a feature of the Wildflower Weekend and Art Show.

With the remarkable number of orchids and other wildflowers that grow throughout the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet district flowering in springtime, the Wildflower Weekend provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to admire the beauty on display.

Mayfly Orchids are one of the orchids that grow in the Anglesea district.

The show includes spectacular displays of native flowers and opportunities for people to take guided walks and bus tours to visit the bushland and flora reserves to see indigenous flowers in their natural habitat. There are also native plants books on environmental subjects, cards and various forms of craftwork for sale.

This year, GORCC will be holding a fun, interactive stall with educational activities provided free for all ages.  GORCC has commissioned local organisation EcoLogic to run the activities which all have a coastal focus.

Georgie Beale from our GORCC Conservation Team will also be there to answer questions and chat to community members about GORCC and what we do,  so feel free to come over and say hi! Georgie is an expert on conservation and land management and can answer your questions about our environmental work and how you can care for the coast.

All proceeds from the show will go towards land conservation purposes.

 Come down to the Anglesea Memorial Hall, McMillan Street Anglesea from 10am-4:30pm this weekend of the 22nd and 23rd September to get involved in all the wildflower action!

For more information, click here, email or call 5263 1085.

Indigenous gardens come to life

The recent discovery of a rare butterfly in a Jan Juc Garden demonstrates how indigenous flora has the power to bring Surf Coast gardens to life.

Jan Juc residents Ian and Roma Edwards were delighted to discover their indigenous garden was home to a rare Bright Copper Butterfly (Paralucia aurifera).

Click Here to see the Bright Copper Butterfly Fact Sheet

“We also have the endangered Rufous Bristle Bird in the garden, which is now extinct in Western Australia, and often see an echidna,” said Mr Edwards.

The garden features rare local flora and is an impressive example of the beauty and benefits of indigenous plants.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale encourages others to follow in the footsteps of the passionate pair.

“Indigenous plants are not only a haven for wildlife, but are easy to grow and care for being perfectly suited to coastal climates.

“You don’t need to water indigenous plants as often and there is much less maintenance involved,” said Ms Beale

Mr and Mrs Edwards’ garden was established quickly, and now, at the age of 10, is an impressive sight to behold.

“All the plants that we have used are particularly suitable to the area.  Once they are established you can almost forget about them,” said Mr Edwards.


Graeme Stockton from West Coast Indigenous Nursery says an indigenous garden also assists in battling environmental weeds.

“70% of all indigenous plants are threatened and weed invasion plays a big part.  Weeds invade indigenous plants and degrade habitats,” he said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee actively works to preserve and protect coastal habitats and raise environmental awareness in the community, and battling weeds is one of the organisation’s major priorities.

“At the moment we are working with various groups to maintain the integrity and beauty of our coastal environment.  We are removing weeds, mulching, and preparing sites ready for Spring planting.

“Having a completely indigenous garden is ideal, but you can make small changes and still reap the benefits.  A great step is simply identifying and removing environmental weeds from your garden,” said Ms Beale.

Jeff Clarke from Otways Indigenous Nursery says the best time of year to plant is March to September/October and that there were a large variety of beautiful and interesting indigenous plants available

“For a start there is approximately 100 species of orchids as well as a huge range of wildflowers, shrubs and trees,” he said.

Ms Beale encourages everyone to discover the wonderful world of indigenous plants.  “Many Australians know so little about Australian indigenous plants and yet they can name hundreds of exotic species,” she said.

For more information contact your local indigenous nursery or local environmental volunteer group.  More details can be found on the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Website at