Your guide to the unique autumn orchids blooming in Hale Conservation Park

Your guide to the unique autumn orchids blooming in Hale Conservation Park

Ven­ture to this Ade­laide Hills park for an autumn treat. Here’s what you need to know about these del­i­cate orchids.

If you ven­ture into Hale Con­ser­va­tion Park near Williamstown in the Ade­laide Hills, you might be in for a tiny sur­prise – a unique autumn-flow­er­ing orchid is in full bloom.

The parson’s bands orchid, also known as Eri­ochilus cucul­la­tus, is cur­rent­ly flow­er­ing on-park with bush­walk­ers report­ing recent sightings.

While most orchids flower in spring, Hale Con­ser­va­tion Park gives flo­ra-lovers an advanced-screen­ing when these del­i­cate orchids emerge each autumn.

There’s lots to love about parson’s bands. Here are four things you might be inter­est­ed to learn more about:

1. Its name

The detail and colour on this flower is incred­i­ble, with the name parson’s bands’ refer­ring to its white lat­er­al sepa­ls that resem­ble a cler­i­cal collar.

Close-up this flower looks very ani­mat­ed, like an angry lit­tle war­rior try­ing to scare someone.

2. When it appears

Parson’s bands orchids emerge after the first autumn rains, send­ing their flower up first, fol­lowed by the tiny ground-hug­ging, heart-shaped leaf.

Although it’s com­mon through­out the Ade­laide Hills, it is the only orchid of the Eri­ochilus genus record­ed in the area.

If you want to see it for your­self, don’t wait too long. This orchid only flow­ers in autumn, and dis­ap­pears once the cold and wet weath­er of win­ter begins.

3. What oth­er orchids you can find in autumn

Oth­er autumn flow­er­ing orchids in the area include mos­qui­to orchids (Acianthus pusil­lus), fringed hare orchids (Lep­orel­la fim­bri­a­ta) and com­mon midge orchids (Corunastylis sp).

4. How you can help

Vis­i­tors to Hale Con­ser­va­tion Park are encour­aged to stick to walk­ing trails to ensure they don’t acci­den­tal­ly step on this very del­i­cate and frag­ile plant.

And if you spot it? Let Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice rangers know. Doc­u­ment­ing where this unique orchid is found helps rangers to learn more about it and where it loves to grow.

Your guide to the unique autumn orchids blooming in Hale Conservation Park

If you love flow­ers, you’ll love our sto­ries:5 stun­ning orchids to look for in South Aus­traliaandWhere to find wild­flow­ers in South Aus­tralia.

(Main image cour­tesy of Ais­linn McAleer, Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Service)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living