Tag Archives: Oligochaetochilus

Spring is here

It is the first day of spring, and so far the day has been very pleasant with the glorious sun out.  Spring is also the busy season for orchid lovers.  Although there will be orchids out most of the year, now is when the majority of them will be flowering.  Today, I’m including a couple of pictures for you to enjoy; pictures taken on glorious spring days.

Oligochaetochilus arenicola – Rufus hoods
I have written about this orchid before, and it will soon be flowering in the more arid parts of Australia.  It is a spectacular plant to see, and the leaves have been up now for some time.

Thelymitra – Sun Orchid
These flowers, particularly the blue ones, are deceptively hard to identify, opening only when it is warm enough.  Many of them look very similar, but they are rewarding to find on a warm spring day.

Diruis – Donkey Orchid
Another favourite, and a very beautiful flower.  In South Australia, ours are only yellow with some having red, but the eastern states have a pink donkey orchid.

Arachnorchis – Spider Orchid
A beautiful collection of flowers, which when ever I see them each year, I can’t help thinking that they look so much smaller then how they are portrayed in the pictures.

Calochilus – Bearded Orchid
I love the rough, straggly beard of this orchid.  It adds so much character to the flower.

Caleana – Duck Orchid
This would have to be one of the orchids that I really look forward to seeing, but it won’t be flowering until the end of spring.  The first few times I saw these orchids, it was wet and raining, but last year, the sun came out.

… so tiny…

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Slender

Oligochaetochilus arenicola – Sand-hill Rufoushood

As well as introducing you to this fascinating orchid, I will use it as an example for some tips in orchid identification.  However, later on, I do have an interesting tale to tell on this species, but I’ll leave that for another post (i.e. when I get around to writing it – and put the video together!!)

Detail of the bristles on the labellum

This would have to be one of my favourite orchids, not because of any vivid or striking colours.  It has a slender flower, and when it cachest the sunligh, it is quite spectacular.  It tends to grow in sandy soil, and more arid areas, growing in drier sites where other orchids would not be able to survive.  It is listed as rare.

Its unpronounceable name refers to some small bristles which grow on the labellum (lip) of the flower.  The number of bristles is used to determine which species it is, so it doesn’t help identification when the photograph is of the flower with the labellum triggered as seen below.

Oligochaetochilus arenicola with a triggered labellum

This is a spring flowering orchid so it won’t be seen flowering until September to November.  However, its leaves are up in late autumn.  The leaves grow as a rosette (or several leaves growing from one point.)  In this genus, the leaves will begin to die during flowering.

With shorter sepals

Upon first glance the above picture might look like a different species.  Its sepals are shorter than the other orchids photographs in this post.  This was my first reaction upon looking at this picture when I returned home.  This is an example how anyone can be fooled while identifying orchids.  If you look closely, you will see that in fact the sepals have been chewed.  Most likely this happened while the orchid was still in bud, as seen on the left flower.

Across different flowers in this species, there is quite a lot of variation meaning no two flowers are exactly the same.  Maybe this makes them so different and special.

Here are a few more pictures because I like showcasing these flowers!

Know Them