Most of these images are from Alan W. Stephenson, who has been researching, cataloguing and photographing orchids in the Illawarra for some thirty years. The orchids below can be found in the Creek and the images are from his magnificent full colour publication, 'Orchid Species of the Shoalhaven' (2011) ISBN 978-0-9581679-1-8. He has kindly written an introduction to the native orchids that can be seen in the Creek at different times of the year:
'The residents of the Shoalhaven area should be well pleased with the orchid species which can be found in the local region and those who know of and have visited Bomaderry Creek Regional Park and the immediate surrounding area, will be aware of the varying landscape types represented in the park.
These different land forms are home to 40 different species of orchids, although only one is listed as endangered under state and commonwealth legislation. Of these 40, nine are either epiphytic (on trees) or lithophytic (on rocks), with the remaining 31 being terrestrial (in the ground) and of these 31 two only are evergreen, having a leaf available all year round for easy identification.
The endangered species is Genoplesium baueri (Brittle Midge Orchid) and there are 29 known plants recorded, although three individuals have been deliberately destroyed by a person or persons unknown. The two evergreen species are Cryptostylis erecta and Cryptostylis subulata (Tongue Orchids).
Several other species have no preference for a rock or a tree and are regularly found on both but normally in a moist rainforest habitat. One species is a source of dispute as it is commonly known as the Sydney Rock Orchid, however in some areas of the Shoalhaven and Illawarra only it prefers to live in trees. The same applies to some terrestrials as occasionally these are found in moss cover rocks and one should never be surprised where orchids choose to grow.
On almost any day throughout the year a watchful visitor will see an orchid in flower either within the Regional Park area or somewhere in the bush land between the creek and Illaroo Road. All are protected by law and must not be touched in any way; but a sharp eye is required to see all the area provides.
Download a table of species in the Creek and flowering periods here.
Hover on the images below to identify; click to enlarge.