Monthly Archives: January 2014

The pretender

Lobelia gibbosa – False Orchid

“It’s summer, and not a lot of orchids are about, but wait, who is that pretty blue flower over there?  Is it an orchid?  I’ve never seen it/read about this flower before.”

Lobelia gibbosa

It might be a pretty flower that is fairly easy to stumble across in the bush, but sadly it is not an orchid, and many have confused it as an orchid, thus enabling it to gain the name “False Orchid.”  It is not even a lily, but is in the family of Campanulaceae.  Since I do not know a lot of information about this plant, I’ve been doing some research and it is really a fascinating plant!

There are several reasons why it can never be an orchid.  It is an annual and orchids are not annuals.  Although the flower may look like it has five segments, it does not have the distinctive column found in all orchids.

DSC03004a (2)It generally has two to four purple/blue and sometimes white flowers that grow from a maroon coloured stem.  The flowers may have a stripe down the center of the petals.  Flowering begins in early summer.  Interestingly, at flowering time, the plant’s leaves have begun to die down.  The plant no longer depends on its roots for survival and can be uprooted and continue to grow.  Consequently it is one of the few flowers that can be found following a 40C heat wave!

It is a fairly widespread plant and can be found in all the states of Australia and even as far as New Zealand and South Africa.  It prefers a slightly open area for growth and seems to be able to cope with a variety of weather conditions.

So while it is not an orchid, or even a lily, enjoy it as it is quite a nice flower!

DSC03010a (2)

Know Them

Sources:

Archer, W. 2011. Esperance Wildflowers: Lobelia gibbosa – Tall Lobelia. [online] Available at: http://esperancewildflowers.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/lobelia-gibbosa-tall-lobelia.html [Accessed: Jan 2014].

Friends of Black Hill and Morialta Incorporated. 2013. Lobelia sp. in Black Hill, Morialta and Horsnell Gully Conservation Parks. [online] Available at: http://www.fobhm.org/noframes/lobelia.htm [Accessed: Jan 2014].

Victorian Orchids

South Australia is the only state in Australia that does not have any epiphytic orchids.  Our state is the driest state in Australia and does not have any rainforests that could offer a suitable condition for them.  So here is a video about some orchids that grow across the border in Victoria.

In Summer…

After having four consecutive days of over 40C (104F) heat, I’m pretty sure that there are not many orchids left in flower now.  However a weeks ago, the hyacinth orchids were in full glory.  Dipodium roseum is one of the most photographed orchids in Australia.  It is often found on road side edges which makes it easy to spot.

Dipodium

It is one of the largest terrestrial orchids and can grow a few feet high.  It grows around Stringy Bark trees as it needs a special fungi to survive as it has no leaves.  Can you spot it/them in the picture below?

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This particular species is distinguished by having stripes (rather than spots) on the labellum.  The flowers vary from pink to a soft white, and can be growing on either a dark stem on green stem.  Personally I prefer the pink flowers on the dark stems and sometimes seem to forget the other variety.  Here are two variations growing together.

dipodiumKeep cool/warm depending where you are!

Looking towards 2014

DSC029042013 was quite a fun year, and saw OrchidNotes first year anniversary in April at about 100 subscribers and in June we hit 10,000 views.  By the end of the year, both those figures had more than doubled.

WordPress has put together a summary of the statistics for OrchidNotes.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete 2013 report.  If you like, you can compare it with the 2012 report.  It’s so exciting to see this website growing.

And as a teaser, my next post will be about Dipodiums.  I’ll hear from you then.