One aspect which makes orchid really appealing is their variety and beauty. They are stunning pieces of artwork. Here are some photographs of some of the spider orchids (Arachnorchis) that grow in South Australia.
The most common spider orchid is the King Spider Orchid, Arachnorchis tentaculata. It is a stunning orchid, and one of the larger ones, being up to 10 cm across.
The Queen Spider orchid, Arachnorchis leptochila, is not as common in South Australia. It is smaller than its sister, and has a more rigid flower.
There are many other spider orchids, but one of my favourite ones would have to be Arachnorchis rigida. It’s white petals are so crisp. This is also quite a small flower.
Yes, I am alive. Unfortunately I’ve been very very busy over the last few months and have run out of time to post on OrchidNotes. So today is a quick update. Soon, I will try to post some pictures from early October, when the spring orchids were in full flower. Here is a sample with a picture of Thelymitra grandiflora – one of the largest sun orchids.
Forestry SA land has some of South Australia’s most beautiful and exquisite orchids growing on its lands. While it is predominately focused on pine tree plantations, it does recognize the importance of conserving our rare and beautiful orchids. Here is a short film by Julian Pitcher, from Victoria, sharing his finds on Forestry land from a few months ago.
The small ducks came out a week or so after filming.
The genus of sun orchids can be quite daunting to identify, but thankfully in South Australia Thelymitra antennifera is the most commonly encountered yellow sun orchid with its distinctive column. It has two common names. Rabbit ears describe the dark red “ears” that sit on top of the column. The second name is Lemon Scented Sun orchid, which describes the soft scent emitted by these flowers.
This sun orchid has thin grass like leaf with a dark purple base. The plants quite commonly have several flowers on them. The flowers are relatively large compared to the small, short stem that holds them.
The Rabbit Ears sun orchid can be found right across Australia from Western Australia into Victoria and Tasmania. It tends to enjoy a slightly opened woodland, and can be often found on the top of ridges and further down in the valleys. It is common, and has a long flowering range. Depending on the region, it can be seen in flower from August to November on any warm day.
Its nice that I am discovering more features on the new camera, or rather my very kind brother is showing me them as he finds them. Anyway, three weeks ago when I photographed the Arachnorchis rigida, I felt that the pictures had way to much blue in them. Since then, I learnt how to adjust the white balance, and so now the pictures are closer to the true colours.
I love this picture of these two spider orchids, Arachnorchis tentaculata, which are hugging each other. I did not realize that they had two different stem colours, until I looked at the photograph. Interestingly, the digital camera did not show this as vividly. Below is another view of the same two orchids.
Another orchid that I saw recently was of the Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Glossodia major. There was a lovely patch of well over a hundred plants. I had first found this patch while all the orchids were in bud, but when I went back two weeks later, more than half had finished flowering. This species has a lot of diversification in colour from a deep purple right through to pure white.
This little orchid is very similar to Acianthus pusillus but flowers in spring instead of autumn. It has similar heart-shaped leaves to Acianthus pusillus, but the flowers are very different. They are often found growing together.
The Mayfly orchid has graceful long sepals compared to a relatively small flower. The whole flower stalk is a dark red, which makes it a challenging subject to photograph in low light.
It is often found growing at the base of tress in the leaf litter, in small colonies. The flowers attracts its pollinator, a small gnat, by giving off a musty odour which we can also detect. Once pollinated, the ovaries (pictured left) swell with many tiny seeds within.
This is an attractive little greenhood. It has a distinct maroon top on the flower and its sepal. I’ve only seen this orchid with a single flower per stem. It is a reasonably common orchid, growing in most regions of South Australia, as well as in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
It can often be found in open areas of woodlands, and colonizes easily. It has a relatively long flowering time, first appearing in late July, and sometimes still flowering up until November. There is a small rosette of leaves at the base of the plant. The leaves are crinkled on the top, and spaced wider apart than on other Pterostylis species, such as P. nutans or P. curta.
This is one of the easier orchids to grow. It is quite a hardy little fellow. Often this orchid can be introduced to sites through mulch. The picture on the left shows a maroon hood which was found last year (2012) in the heart of the Adelaide city CBD.
Below is a pretty amazing colony growing in someones front lawn. So for those who really want to grow orchids, this is one of the easier ones to grow. (But don’t remove them from the wild, as that is illegal.)
An unusual colony growing in a suburban front lawn. Special thanks to Gordon Ninnes for permission to use his picture.