Category Archives: Corunastylis

Autumn orchid flowers

The orchid season has started – well actually it started last month.  I’m a bit late sharing these pictures with you, but they were taken on the 29th of March.

One of the first orchids to flower is Corunastylis sp. Adelaide Hills.  It has such tiny flowers with the whole plant often being less than 10 cm high.  This does make it quite challenging to photograph, but they are still very delightful plants.

Corunastylis sp. Adelaide Hills

From the picture you above, there is a small fly sitting on the top flower.  This is most likely the pollinator.  On a warm day there will be plenty of these little flies buzzing around the orchids.  This species does have quite a range of colour varieties.  Below is a yellow form.

Corunastylis sp. Adelaide Hills

Another species that is flowering at the moment is Eriochilus cucullatus.  This is also a very small orchid with the flower not being much larger than a thumb nail.

Eriochilus cucullatus

As we move into winter we will start to see more of the greenhoods in flower.

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Small Wonder

Corunastylis sp. Adelaide Hills – Midge Orchids

This genus would have to be one of the most frustrating orchids to identify (at least I think so), and when found in the wild only looks like a twig sticking out of the ground, but when looking at a picture is a surprisingly beautiful flower.  However Bates 2011 said, “Basically if one finds a woodland species in the Mount Lofty Ranges it will be this taxon,” so I guess it is not that hard to identify.

The variety of colourings

The variety of colourings

So it is the Corunastylis sp. (Adelaide Hills), an unobtrusive flower showing itself from late February to May.  The distinguishing feature of this orchid is its labellum which is so tiny, and so difficult to get under to see!  The whole plant stands under 10 cm, with many small brown and green flowers along the stem.  It is fairly widespread in South Australia, growing from Eyre Peninsula across to the Flinders Ranges, and down to the South East and Kangaroo Island.

2009 036a

Note: this is the Mt. Billy species

This orchid does have a leaf which wraps around the stem of the plant.  However it can be difficult to see.  The flowers are pollinated by a small little fly.  It is quite common to find the little pollinator sitting on the flower, with pollen on its back.

Mostly the orchid is found in sandy soil, or open areas.  Quite often it seems to enjoy living dangerously, growing in the middle of tracks and paths.

This genus is not just unique to Australia, as there are other species which can be found in New Caledonia and New Zealand.

A remaining captual

A remaining capsules

Often the finished capsules of the orchids can be found quite some time after flowering, right into spring.  The above picture shows that this plant was pollinated and has produced some swollen capsules.

Corunastylis sp copy

Reference:
Bates, R. (2011) South Australia’s Native Orchids. Native Orchid Society of South Australia Inc, p.455.

Know Them

Where are they?

So the last two weekends, I’ve been able to go orchid hunting, but… where are all the orchids?  It has been partly because I’m a bit early for some, and I’ve not been at the right places.  Anyway, it was still nice to get out.

Scenery

Sadly the sun also seemed to be hiding.

I did manage to find some orchid leaves of a green-hood.  They were very, very tiny, but still there.

Pterostylis

And I know you all would have been very disappointed if I did not show you that I saw a koala, even if they are an introduced species in the Adelaide Hills.  It is not easy photographing objects high up in trees.

Koala

Hopefully next orchid search is more successful, and I can post some pictures of Eriochilus cucullatus, Parson’s band.  ‘Til then …….

Gold Hunting

Last weekend, I visited some gold mines in the Adelaide Hills.  I was at a recreation park, and many visitors were there with pick and shovel, and a few even had fancy detectors.  Most did not appear to be very successful in finding gold, which is not surprising considering the site has had thousands of visitors over many years since the mines were closed.

Was I successful?

Well I didn’t find any gold, nor looked for any gold, but I did find some gems.  Yes, those wonderful little orchids are up and flowering already, although not many.  I found some Corunastylis sp. also known as the midge orchid.  These plants are so, so tiny, with the whole plant standing under ten centimetres or three inches,  The flowers can’t really be appreciated unless seen under a microscope, or in a picture.  Unfortunately my camera has been struggling a bit with focusing (and they are too small for my phone camera), so sorry for things being slightly blurry.

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

At another site I saw some Eriochilus cucullatus, Parson’s band.  Unfortunately they were not flowering at the time.  Again these plants are still very small, and it can make it very hard to find them.  They have a small white flower.

Eriochilus cucullatus

It wasn’t until I reached home that I realized I had photographed three plants at once (there are three in the picture!).  In this species the leaves do not emerge until after the flowers.