Pterostylus pedunculata colony

General view

Many years ago, when the Karingal Estate was being developed at Frankston, I rescued some nodding greenhoods (Pterostylus nutans) and some maroonhoods (P. pedunculata). These grew very happily in pots at our home in Brighton for a number of years, but when we built a new house I had to move the pots, and I never found another site which suited them, so they gradually dwindled away. While they were doing well I had made a number of attempts to naturalise them around the garden, but they never lasted more than a year or two. We have a large almond tree outside the drawing room (unfortunately now almost killed by possums), and the area under it is paved with bricks, laid directly on the soil. At one stage we had some of our orchid pots on benches under the trees, and about 15 years ago a single maroonhood plant appeared in the gap between two bricks. I can only assume that a blackbird had been digging in one of the pots, and had thrown a bulb onto the terrace, where it had fallen into the gap.

Pterostylus pedunculata colony

Another view

The plant found conditions to its liking, and multiplied rapidly. Now (mid 2005) there are hundreds of plants, filling most of the gaps in an area about 500 millimetres square. Naturally this is right in the middle of the walkway.

Pterostylus pedunculata colony

Close-up of flowers

The colony is about one metre east of a high brick wall running north-south, and directly under the almond tree, so it only gets shaded light in the morning, and nothing in the afternoon.


Late in 2005, after the plants had died down for the summer, I noticed that the earth between the bricks had been disturbed. When I investigated, I found that something had been tunnelling along the gaps harvesting the bulbs. I excavated several of the trenches, but could find no trace of the culprit. A significant number of bulbs remained, and I transferred some of these to other parts of the terrace.

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Maroon hoods in brick path: ~2005