Tag Archives: helmet orchid

Four years

So it has now been four years since I have been observing this patch of helmet orchids (Corysanthes diemenica).  The first time I saw it in 2011 was probably the best year.  This year was not brilliant but it looked fairly good.  2013 was probably when I saw the least number of orchids flowering.

Corysanthes diemenica in 2011

In 2011 I saw the most flowers in this patch.

Corysanthes diemenica

In 2012, there were not many flowers out and is probably the least number of flowers I’ve seen at this patch.

Corysanthes diemenica

In 2013, there were not many flowers but a lot of leaves were up.

Corysanthes diemenica

So 2014 put in a fairly decent display.  A lot of the plants that were up were flowering.

And here is a picture of the little helmet orchids (taken on my phone) when the sun decided to come out!

Corysanthes diemenica

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Three years difference

In July 2011, I came across this amazing colony of Corysanthes dieminica (Helmet orchids.)  It was really exciting to find them, as I had not seen such a healthy colony before.  The picture below of the field of flowers is one of my favorite shots.

Corysanthes diemenica

In 2011

There were so many flowers.  It almost seemed that every plant that was up was flowering.  The total patch would be at least one metre wide, and nearly a metre and a half long.  It is sits between a path and a couple of Xanthorrhoea, under which there were a few flowers.

The whole patch

The whole patch in 2011

I find it interesting that all the flowers are facing one direction.  In this case it is towards the south.  Other smaller patches of Corysanthes diemenica have also faced mainly one direction, but not always to the south.

Another angle

Another angle again in 2011

So after finding something as good as this, I had to come back the next year.  In 2012, there weren’t nearly as many flowers or leaves up.  The picture below shows the most dense section in 2012, which is nothing compared to 2011.

Corysanthes diemenica

In 2012

This year there weren’t many flowers either.  Looking across the different pictures, it looks like there are more leaves up this year, with a couple of flowers.  However, I did notice that there were more flowers under the Xanthorrhoea, than I could remember previously.  I wonder what will happen next year.

Corysanthes diemenica

In 2013

The colouring of the helmet orchids are so beautiful.  The flowers are also partially transparent, and this makes them stunning to look at when the sunlight comes through the flower!

Corysanthese dieminica

There’s nothing like getting up nice and close

Click on any of the images to view them at a larger size.

Camera dies…

Finally, I was able to go and hunt for some orchids.  But my camera died!

So my camera for taking macro photography thinks that everything is white.  Fortunately, Dad very kindly lent me his camera, thank you Dad!  So I was able to take some orchid pictures to share with you all.  I saw lots and lots of leaves.  There were so many.  It could be that this is going to be a good year for finding orchids.  We will have to wait to see how the year unfolds.  Some of the different leaves that I saw included Arachnorchis, Glossodia major, Bunochilus viriosous and Thelymitra.  Below is a very nice field of Nemacianthus caudatus.  This orchid will be flowering in the coming month.

Nemacianthus caudatus

I also checked out my favourite little spot of Corysanthes diemenica.  The leaves were emerging, and there were some tiny little buds beginning to appear.

Corysanthes diemenica

I was also able to find some orchids in flower.  There were quite a few plants of Urochilus sanguineus.  This species will continue flowering for several more months.  It has a relatively long flowering time.  I have written about this species previously for the Know Them series.  The flowers were lovely and fresh, and I believe this is when they have the best colouring.

Urochilus sanguineus

And the other orchid I saw in flower was the tiny Mosquito orchid, Acianthus pusillus.  This species also has a long flowering time, and will be finishing in August.

Acianthus pusillus

Some of these trees where covered in the fungi pictured below.  I thought it looked quite pretty.  Enjoy your long weekend!

Fungi

I want/need a new camera now!  I would prefer a digital SLR, any suggestions?

Orchid season taking off

It is the beginning of autumn, and that means the orchids will start appearing again.  True there were a few flowering over summer, but about now we begin to see the leaves of the winter flowering species and some spring flowering orchids, and occasionally we might find a few autumn flowering species.

So today, I’m going to give you a sample of some of the orchids you could find, each month, during this coming year.

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November and December

January and February

and then it all starts over again.

For more pictures see here.

Flowering now

During the week I was able to check up and see what some of our South Australian orchids were doing.

The leaves of Cyrtostylis reniformus were up with a couple of early buds just beginning to appear.  I like the stripes on the leaves and the colour of them.  They are very distinctive.  This is the later flower of the two species of Cyrtostylis with the earlier being Cyrtostylis robusta.

A finished captual of Diplodium robustum.  This is where the seed will form.  They were still all facing the hillside.

A nice little colony of Diplodium robustum.  Note the leaves at the base, as these are the same species, but will not flower this year.

An Urochilus sanguineus out in flower.

The Veined Helmet Orchids, Corysanthes diemenica were only just opening.  Many were still in bud.

Helmets

Corysanthes diemenica – Veined Helmet Orchid

Upon first inspection, it looks like some moss where some gum-nuts have fallen.  However, it turns out that the gum-nuts are these little helmet orchids.  These orchids tend to grow in moist areas, and will often be found near the base of large trees.

It is interesting to note the name of this species, “diemenica” was derived from Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmania’s old name from its early colonial days.  This was where this species was first discovered.  Australia has over 20 species from the Corysanthes family, with the rest being found in surrounding countries including New Zealand, New Guinea and up into South East Asia.

Note the small point on the apex of the leaf

This species flowers between July and August.  Its flowers are small, about the size of you  thumb fingernail.  They tend to colonize, and not just one species will be found in one patch.

An interesting feature on these orchids is a small point on the apex of the leaf.  This feature has not been recorded in the plants descriptions, but it was present in all our photographs.

Know Them

Orchid Photographs

Photographing orchid is an excellent way to enjoy orchids.  Not only is it fun to find the orchid and photograph them on the field, but when you are home again, you can look over the pictures and enjoy looking at those orchids.

Duck Orchid

Some ask, “What camera do you use to get such clear picture?”  Personally I use the Richo compact digital cameras.  The reason is that these cameras have excellent macro focus allowing you to get within 1cm of the flower and it will still focus.  Also this company offers a good service if you need a camera repaired, and it is affordable.

Thelymitra rubra

Thelymitra antennifera

It is interesting to note that the above pictures were all taken with a 4mega pixel camera.  However the next picture was takes with a Sony camera.

Corysanthes diemenica

The above pictures is one of my favourites.  I’ve always wanted to take a picture of a field of orchids, and here I was able to with a field of helmet orchids.  It was interesting to discover that all the flowers were facing one direction, (partly why they can be easily seen in the above picture) in fact they were all facing south.

Here are some tips I use when photographing orchids:

  • Have the flower in focus (sometimes anti-shake helps)
  • Don’t use a flash – avoid black backgrounds and colour distortion
  • Try and capture the flower in the sunlight
  • Have the background slightly blurred so the orchid stands out, but not so much that it becomes a single colour
  • Take lots of photos from different angles, looking for unusual angles
  • Enjoy taking photo
  • Find a camera that suits you (this helps make it enjoyable, and you don’t need to pay a fortune)
  • Identify the Orchid (It could be you have photographed something that is rare or unusual)

Theylmitra rubra