Monthly Archives: December 2012

Random Reflection

With it less than a week away from Christmas, and a bit more than a week before a new year, I find myself unable to decide what to write for today’s post.  This year as been a reasonable year for orchids, though unfortunately, I have been unable to see them as often as I would have liked to.

At present there are not many orchids in flower.  The hyacinths orchid and a few swamp species are flowering now.  The common hyacinth orchid, Dipodium roseum, incidently is one of the most photographed orchids in the Adelaide Hills, and is often found along road sides.  It is easily spotted due to its pink flowers and standing a couple of feet high.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Getting out the pencil and paper

Drawing is something that I have enjoyed, but usually my patience does not permit me to complete a large picture.  However, since life has had a little quite spell, and usually Christmas is not particularly busy yet, I decided to try some drawing.  I am self taught, and prefer pencil artwork, as it is a chance to bring out all the tones, but I don’t feel that I’m always successful.

Prasophyllum elatum

My picture is of a Prasophyllum elatum, the tall leak orchid.  I’m not totally happy with how the frilly part of the labellum turned out, but overall I like the feel of the picture.  This species is unusual because the labellum is bend upwards, rather than facing down as in most orchids.  What I have illustrated would be about a couple of centimetres high, or approximately an inch.  The flower stem will have a cluster of these flowers, and after fire, the stem is black, instead of green.

A Day At The Office . . .

This might be off topic, but I think it is still related to orchids, in a way.  I was going to do something on underground orchids but I have to leave that for a later post.  And I am planning to do some posts on the habitat of orchids and the ecosystems that they are found in.  But this will have to suffice for now.

Earlier this week, Trees For Life had little visitors in the office, some furry ones, a feathered one and some reptilian ones, namely a goanna, a couple of carpet pythons Continue reading

What makes an orchid an orchid

Recently, I have been surprise by the number of “likes” I have received for a post I published several months ago: Parts of an Orchid.  I’ll attempt to write some more posts along these lines, as this seems to be what you (my readers) enjoy!

The origin of the name “Orchids” comes from the Greek word orchis.  This is because the orchids tend to have two tubers shaped like a pair of testicles.  These distinctive tubers separate it from its sister plant group, the lily family.  However when identifying orchids I do not recommend looking at the tubers as it is illegal to dig up orchids in Australia.

Another distinctive feature of an orchid is that both the male and female parts for reproduction are combined on a column, while in other plant families these are separated with sometimes one plant being either the male or female plant.  The column is also an important feature for identification, in particular Thelymitra, sun orchids.

Orchid reproduction

Many orchids rely on fungi for survival.  This makes them challenging to cultivate, with some being impossible to grow, and thus difficult or impossible to re-establish after habitat loss.  Consequently, the number of orchids species present on a site tends to indicate the quality of the site.

Something you may have or may not have noticed is that the flower of an orchid is symmetrical and this is not always applicable to other flowers.

Calochilus cupreus
Bearded orchid

Arachnorchis stricta