(Photos:E. Cousins, flower spike, front and side views)
You often find these in colonies, flowering from July to October, so start watching for them now! Look for a rosette of leaves at the base. You will find 4-8 thickish leaves, all with smooth edges and short little stems. The leaves are oval in shape, up to 2cm long, grey-green and often flat on the ground. The lovely green and white striped flowers are on stems up to 10cm tall, but they themselves are only 1-1.5cm long. They are held erect on the stalk. Parts of the flower have great names. The green hood, for instance, is called the ‘galea’, and those long ears or wings sitting either side of the galea are called ‘lateral sepals’. And just in case you are wondering, the bump at the stem end of the flower is the ovary. These look absolutely delightful when you find them in the bush…just don’t tread or kneel on them when you go to take a photo!