Tag Archives: rare

A beauty

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I wanted to see some Arachnorchis rigidaI was able to do this last week, and they looked as beautiful as ever.

Arachnorchis rigida

Arachnorchis rigida

These orchids are quite small as can be seen in this picture.  There were fourteen plants in flower with two in bud.

Arachnorchis rigida

There were quite a lot of other orchid species that I saw both in bud and in flower.  It was a very good site, and I am looking forward to heading back soon to get some more photographs.  Have a good weekend.

Growing terrestrial orchids

Some of my readers have asked whether it is possible to grow native orchids, or where they can get some to grow.  The unfortunate fact is that many of the orchids have not been propagated, and those that can be grown tend to difficult to keep alive.

Being an orchid enthusiast, and loving to see these flowers, I have tried to grow some of them.

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An orchid in the pot does have the advantage that you can choose the background…

Acianthus pussillus

...and sometimes allow you to take shots that are not possibly in the wild, as these orchids don’t grow in open areas, and are very small and difficult to get underneath them!

The unfortunate fact is that most of the time, it has not been entirely successful.  All the orchid growers say that it is easy to grown orchids, but… have you seen their greenhouses?  Virtually they are running a laboratory for growing orchids, with the right sunlight, and the right amount of water, and these aren’t usually cheap to set up.  Here is an article about setting up the right conditions for growing Epiphytes.

There are several species of orchids that I have never seen in propagation.  These include: the Hyacinth orchid (Dipodium sp.) or any other species that does not have leaves including the Cinnamon Bells (Gastrodia sp.), everyone’s favourite the duck orchid (Caleana major or Paraceleana sp.), any of the swamp orchids (Spiranthes and Cryptostylis) or even the bearded orchid (Caladenia).

Caleana major

Sorry, you can’t grow these! 😦

The difficulty behind growing orchids makes it even harder to re-introduce orchids into the wild, and stresses the point that it is important to protect the remaining bushland.  Unfortunately, because Adelaide is relatively flat most of the land has been cleared for agriculture, but there are still a few pockets of native vegetation left, and quite often these are threatened by weeds

But it is important to remember:

No part of an orchid can be collected from the wild!

So if you are really desperate to try growing orchids, start with one of the easier species like one of the green-hoods (Pterostylis nutans or P. curta) or a Microtis sp, except its flowers aren’t very obvious.

Terrestrial orchids won’t normally be found for sale in nurseries.  There are a few specialised growers in South Australia, and around Australia, so if you are interested, it probably would be best to contact your local Australian Orchid Club!  Often they will also provide information on the conditions you need, and will be able to help with any difficulties that are faced along the way.

Orchid shows can be a chance to see some of the orchids that the growers have succeeded with, but usually they show their best specimens.  Here are a few pictures I took at the Native Orchid Society of South Australian’s meeting in spring, so you can see what the “professionals grow”.  (This is the only time you will see me using a flash – indoor photography 🙂 )

My observation is that the orchids that are propagated tend to have larger flowers than those in the wild, but that is probably due to the growers providing favourable conditions for them.

It is now the beginning of March, and I was very delighted to find that my Microtis are up already. (They are a desperate attempt to hopefully keep some orchids alive for a few years.  I’m told they grow like weeds!)

Microtis leaves

Already up!
Hopefully they survive the season, don’t get over/under watered, eaten…

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 soon

Unfortunately at the moment I’ve been very busy, consequently I have been unable to prepare much for you.  However, I’m posting a couple of pictures of some summer orchids, that will begin flowering in time for Christmas.

The hyacinth orchid – this is probably one of the most photographed orchid in the Adelaide Hills, as the whole plant can be about two to three feet high.

Dipodium pardina

Dipodium roseum

Moose Orchid – This is probably a flower you won’t see in South Australia, as it is very rare, and grows in swamps.  However it is more common in the eastern states but does not need to grow in a swamp.  Its leaves look like the leaves from gum trees.

Cryptostylis subulata

Duck Orchid – this is actually out at the moment, and would have to be a favourite flower for everyone.

Caleana major

Have a good weekend all!

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

Orchids in Swamps

Orchids grow in swamps.

At least, they do in South Australia and I have no doubt they do in other parts of the world.  Most orchids love water.  And there are at least three very different orchids that refuse to grow anywhere else beside swamps.

First is the Moose Orchid.

Then there is the Spiral Orchid.

The Spiral Orchid comes in a white variety as well as pink.

And there is also a little Sun Orchid.

Orchids without Leaves

Some orchids have no leaves at all.  They depend entirely on fungi to grow.

Below are two such orchids.  The first is a Hyacinth Orchid, of which there are a few.  One is very common, flowering throughout the Adelaide Hills during the summer months.  There is a rarer Hyacinth Orchid, a spotted Hyacinth Orchid, which similar in appearance but a different species.  The common Hyacinth Orchid is the one shown below.

The Hyacinth Orchid is so named because of its resemblance to the hyacinth flowers.  Both the common and the spotted varieties of the Hyacinth Orchid flower at Christmas time.

Then there is the Cinnamon Bells, or the Potato Orchid.  It is rare like the spotted Hyacinth Orchid.  Cinnamon Bells is a very appropriate name with its cinnamon coloured bell like flowers as well as its scent.