Tag Archives: August

Excitement…

Very recently, I had the opportunity to see and photograph an orchid, which, up until now, I had never seen before in the wild, only in photographs.

It is the Jonesiopsis or Wispy Spider Orchids or Daddy-longlegs.  From the pictures of it, I though it looked very much like the Arachnorchis genus (spider orchid).  However a friend, who had seen these orchids, informed me that they are two very different genus.

Because of a slight camera shortage (mmm), I had to use the long distance camera and could not capture some of the detail of these plants, but it didn’t stop me from taking over 270 pictures.  They were magnificent, gorgeous, and breath-taking.  Actually they were also a bit different from what I expected.

The flowers were surprisingly smaller than the pictures suggested.  Most of the plants would have only been half a foot tall to a foot.  However, the bristles on the sepals and petals were such a dark maroon colour, compared with the cream and green of the labellum and base of the petals.

The picture below shows more contrast of colours on the plant.

My only trial from the day were the mosquitoes.  There were so, so many.  Every time I stopped to take a photograph, they would gather around me.  They were quite large, but fortunately, I did not suffer too many attacks.  However, one was very kind and flew into my picture just I was taking it!

I have compiled a little video of some of the plants I saw on the day.  At one point you will hear a loud buzz, which is a mosquitoe attacking my hands.

I did see some other orchids, one including the Pheladenia deformis which I mentioned in my last post.  So now I’ve photographed several of these plants. 🙂

There were also these very tiny shell orchid, which I cannot work out how to identify beyond Hymenochilus sp.

I am really pleased how this last picture turned out.

A favourite

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.

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Small orchid

Linguella nana – Little Greenhood

Linguella nana refers to a complex of a possible six unnamed species.  For this post, I will be discussing Linguella sp. Hills nana.  The genus name describes it labellum which is hidden in the orchid.  Like many greenhoods, this genus used to be part of the Pterostylis family.

A colony of Linguella sp. Hills nana

This is probably one of the smallest green-hoods.  I’ve seen the whole plant with flower being less than ten cm high, and right next to it, a plant twice the height.  This can be seen in the video below.

These orchids tend to flower between July and October, and prefer growing in areas of high rainfall.  It is pollinated by a little fly, probably similar to the little fly on these Cyrtostylis robusta seen in this video.

One time when I went out looking for orchids, the bushland did not look particularly promising, and then I came across a couple of these tiny orchids.  They can be a pain to photograph, as the flower is about the size of your little finger nail, and quite often they grow in shaded areas, growing in the leaf litter under a tree.

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Robust

Bunochilus viriosus – Adelaide Hills banded Greenhood or Tall Greenhood

This orchid used to be part of the Pterostylis family, and is commonly found with Urochilus sanguenea.  Like U. sanguenea, the plant will produce either a flowering stem or a leaf.  This genus is fairly common with species been found right across Australia.  Interestingly nearly every state has some species which are endemic to their state.

Its name viriosus means it is strong or robust.  It is found from the Mount Lofty Ranges across to Eyre Peninsula, and it can have some variation.  It flowers between June and early September.

Generally these plants are have several flowers on a single stem.  The plants with the most flowers tend to be older plants, and would have not flowered the previous year.  A feature of these flowers is a labellum which, upon touch, will move upwards trapping the pollinator.  While the pollinator struggles to free itself from the orchid, it will pollinate the flower.

Similarly to U. sanguenea, this orchid will also produce short and tall plants at the same site.  It has been observed for this species to reach over a foot high.

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The long and short of it

Urochilus sanguineus – Maroon Banded Greenhood

This species used to be listed as a Pterostylis, and is similar strucurally to the Bunochilus.  Often it is found with Bunochilus, but they have not been known to hybridize.  It has a labellum which is sensitive to touch.  The plant will either produce a flowering stem, or a sterile leaf.

Winter orchids: Linguella sp. Hills nana, Urochilus sanguineus

This species flowers from May to September, and can be found in most regions of South Australia, as well as Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.  It is believed that this plant may have originated from the west, as most Urochilus species are endemic to Western Australia.  South Australia only has this species.

Quite often I’ve seen a variety of heights of these orchids, on the same site, at the same time.  This is mainly due to the nutrients of the soil where the plants are growing.  The dwaft plants are called ‘depauperate’.  Another feature of these orchids is they can grow in clumps or as a single plant.

The flowers can be difficult to photograph as they are very darkly coloured.  However with the afternoon sun coming through them they are beautiful.  Taking photos of them with a flash makes these flowers almost look black, and hides the loveliness of these flowers.

I’ve provided two pictures below of this species, the first from the southern and the second from the northern Mt. Lofty Ranges to show there is really no difference despite location.  Overall the species only varies in height, and the flowers fade with age.

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Facing away

Diplodium sp.- Shell Orchid

In this post, I will be dealing with Diplodium robustum, Diplodium sp. Adelaide Hills, and the hybrid the occurs from both.  These plants flower between May and August.

The plants of this species will either have a small rosette of leaves or a flower with leaves growing from the stem.  These orchids tends to form large colonies, but only 10% will flower.  An interesting observation is that these flowers will grow facing the slope.  It could be that this is where the pollinator will come from.  The reason is not known, but it does make it hard to photograph the front of the flower.

All the flowers are facing in one direction.
Note the little rosettes around the plants

Another example of the flowers all facing the banking

The two parent species of Diplodium are determined by the length of the spike on the end of the dorsal sepal.  D. robustum has long spike and is pictured below, left.  D. sp. Adelaide Hills has a short spike and is pictured below, right.  The hybrids are more likely to finish flowering before their parent plants.

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