, ,

At the end of my graveyard walk, I amble along the flat on the outskirts of Nerrigundah, mildly disappointed. After all, I've heard a number of stories of old cemeteries hosting colonies of rare orchids. Not this morning. Not as far as I could see. Not without leaving the grassland and poking about, without a stick, in what might well be the territory of snakes.

My eyes have become accustomed to scanning the road edge. Sometimes I even think I've developed some sort of expertise. And there it is. An orchid, or something that looks enough like an orchid to draw me over for a closer look.

My eye has not let me down. There it is, Gastrodia sesamoides, last sighted in the sandy soil at Huskisson on Jervis Bay, holidaying with my sister-in-law. Aboriginal people used the tubers for food and found them by following the scratchings of bandicoots, hence the common name potato orchid. The flowers have a perfume I missed by focusing too much on photography, hence another common name, cinnamon bells. This is one of the orchids that self-pollinate and thrive when there have been summer fires. It is “widespread and common”, as are most of the orchids I see, but that doesn't diminish my pleasure in spotting it.

However there is a down side. I may begin to think every walking episode should end with orchids!






My source for information about orchids is Native orchids of Australia, including the island territories by David Jones (2006)