Pheladenia deformis – Blue Beard or Blue Fairy-orchid
For some reason, this orchid has never been very high on my list to look out for. In a way, it could be described as my forgotten orchid, as often I totally forget it. However, I’ve had several people say to me that this is their favourite orchid. In one case, it was the orchid that fired a friend’s interest in orchids when she happened to stumble across a field of them. It is a very beautiful flower, with such a vivid blue that can be seen quite a distance away.
What brought this orchid to my memory was that I recently found one. It was an early flowering one, and growing all on its own. It is also the only plant of this species that I have actually photographed and filmed.
The species is widespread, being across the southern band of Australia. It flowers from July to October. However the flowers will not last long once pollinated. If only the pollen is removed and the plant is not pollinated the flowers can last for some time. Additionally the flowering season is later for plants growing in higher altitudes.
The flowers of this species are know to vary from deep blue to white and grey. On very rare occasions the flowers can be yellow.
Once, when I visited a site where there had been a summer fire, there were some clusters of these orchids flowers, which where very attractive and pretty. The fire may have encourage them to flower but is not necessary for flowering.