Tag Archives: Pterostylis pedunculata

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.

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Orchids of the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

Australia is a rich resource for orchids, especially terrestrial orchids which make up 82 percent of all the Australian orchids.  Terrestrial Orchids are found, mainly below the tropics in grasslands, heath lands, and eucalyptus forests.  Many are deciduous coming up in autumn/winter, flowering in winter/spring and dying down in summer.  Most rely on fungi to survive, and for germinated to occur.

What makes an orchid?

Orchids are always made up of five main segments: a labellum, column, two sepals and a dorsal sepal and two petals.

How do orchids reproduce?

Most orchids need to be pollinated by native bees, wasps and sometimes ants.  The introduced European Bee, because of its size, does not pollinate the flower, but can instead damage or destroy it.  Some orchids do not require a pollinator and are thus called self pollinating.

Orchids in South Australia

There are many different orchids; in fact, South Australia is home to over three hundred different species, some of which are yet to be described.  The Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens yields a variety of orchids, which will be covered in this leaflet.

Arachnorchis tentaculata King Spider Orchid

This species is relatively common in the Mt. Lofty Ranges, with flowers reaching ten centimetres across.  It can easily be distinguished by clubs on the end of its petals and sepals.

Diuris pardina Spotted Donkey Orchid

This attractive flower is distinguished by the spots on its sepals and labellum.  It received its common name as its petals reminded the English settlers of donkey ears.

Diuris orientis Wallflower Donkey Orchid

This distinctive orchid can be distinguished by its bright colours and particularly its labellum, which can be a shade of deep purple.  This species is also referred to as the Bulldog Orchid.

Diuris orientis x pardina Pioneer Donkey Orchid

It is not unusual to find hybrids of the donkey orchid.  It is often between these two species and can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from Diuris pardina.

Glossodia major Cockatoo Orchid

This purple flower is often found in fields, and is very common in the Mount Lofty Ranges.  It does vary in colour from purple to a pure white, with the different varieties growing together.

Pterostylis pedunculata Greenhood

This winter flowering orchid is often found in dense colonies which can number over a hundred plants.  It can be found in early spring in the Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens.

Microtis arenaria Onion Orchid

This green flower breaks out of its cylindrical leaf.  Many people find the Microtis family difficult to identify due to its minute size.

Thelymitra rubra Sun Orchid

This pink sun orchid is one of three pink sun orchids.  It can be distinguished by the tufts on the top of the column.  It opens freely on warm days, when the temperature is over 25 degrees centigrade.

Thelymitra brevifolia Pepper Top Sun Orchid

This sun orchid has a distinctive red top on its column.  It can also be distinguished by red edges on its short broad leaf.  Its flower is smaller than Thelymitra rubra.

Thelymitra parviflora Sun Orchid

This common sun orchid has a blue flower and can be confused with a number of other blue sun orchids.  Like all sun orchids, it only opens on warm days, as this is when the pollinators are present.

There are many other types of orchids not considered in this leaflet.  However some field guides on orchids will enable identification of orchids which can be found in other parks and reserves around Adelaide or beyond.

Protecting Orchids

It is always a pleasure to find orchids but they do need to be protected and conserved.  Orchids can easily be eliminated by weeds which choke them.  Consequently, if orchids are found, it is an indication that the surrounding bush is good quality.  It is also important not to pick orchids.  Not only is it illegal, but orchids need their flowers to reproduce.

This is from a leaflet about the common orchids in the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens.  For the printable version, see here.

Returning… (Part 3)

For today I will be finishing the series of posts I’ve done on this small roadside site, that I visited back in September.

For other parts see: Previous visit, Part 1, Part 2

I was hoping to see some Thelymitra, sun orchids in flower, but they were not ready even though the day was warm.

There were some Pterostylis nutans, nodding green-hoods flowering.  They really do nod in the wind!

There were some other green-hoods up, one being Pterostylis pedunculata, the maroon green-hood and another being Linguella nana.

What was most satisfactory was seeing some of the Linguella nana had formed capsules.  That means there will be more plants there in coming years.

Free Orchid walks


Thelymitra rubra ~Common Pink Sun Orchid

There will be two free guided walks to see orchids at the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens in Adelaide.  These walks are led by the Native Orchid Society of South Australia and are a chance for the public to see some common orchids and get to know some other orchid lovers.  The walks are on:

  • Monday ~ 1 October 2012
  • Saturday ~ 27 October 2012

Walks start at 11am and are just over an hour in length and start at the Lower Carpark.  Please contact me if you are interested.


Click on pictures to enlarge.

All pictures were taken at the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens.

Orchids in odd places

Orchids generally prefer to grow somewhere like here:

However, I have found some orchids in some very different places.  For instant I’ve been areas that have been cleared and later planted out.  You must realize that orchids cannot cope with that much disturbance.  However I’ve seen orchids there, native Australian orchids and they have not been planted either.  There is a very logical reason.

Often these sites have had a layer of wood cuttings placed over the top of them.  The orchids have entered these clippings most likely as seed, and the seed germinates at the new location, and yes, you have some orchids.

The most common to do this is the onion orchid, Microtis arenicola.  This is probably one of the most common orchids.  This one also enjoys regular watering!

Another hardy species which does this is the Pterostylis pedunculata or the maroon greenhood.  This orchid was found very close to Adelaide’s CBD, and I’ve seen pictures of it growing in someone’s front lawn.

Both of these species are just coming out now.

Here is an orchid which did not realize that it was in a tennis court.  This is Dipodium roseum, the hyacinth orchid, a summer flowering orchid, which I will probably discuss in more detail closer to that season.

Then of course, there are those orchids which I have no idea why, or how they end up where they are.  Below are some leaves of Thelymitra (sun orchid) and Glossodia major (Blue Cockatoo orchid) growing in a tree.

Up now…

Just a couple of pictures of leaves that are up at the moment.

Pterostylis pedunculata
Maroon-hood

Arachnorchis tentaculata
King spider orchid

Nemacianthus caudatus
Mayfly Orchid

Pyrorchis nigricans
Black Fire Orchid

Pyrorchis nigricans
Black Fire Orchid
Picture shows the stripes on the underside of the leaf

Microtis sp.
Onion orchid
The flower of these plants grows inside the tubular leaf, and breaks out of it for flowering

This miniature orchid has finished flowering.

Corunastylis sp. Adelaide Hills
Common Midge Orchid

Hey, you aren’t an orchid…
Behind are some Pterostylis pedunculata leaves (the dark green).