Tag Archives: Orchidaceae

The Leafy Sun Orchid – Thelymitra bracteata

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Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid
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Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid
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Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid
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Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid
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Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid

Thelymitra bracteata aka Large Bracted Sun Orchid, Leafy Sun-orchid
Working classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Charophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoidae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Thelymitrinae
Lobethal roadside scrub verge – October 25th, 2014 – warm, dry conditions

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

These were growing next to a roadside metal rail in, what at first sight, seemed to be very unpromising conditions. We had stopped the car to take photographs of an old brickworks that was just 50 yards or so down the scrub-covered hill from the road – I was stunned to see these amazing Orchids in quite a dense group. I didn’t know what species this was, because the blue Thelymitras confuse me, but Sheridan Ford said, on the Australian Native Orchids Facebook Page: “My guess is T. bracteata. I don’t think it is pauciflora as pauci only has 1-5 flowers. The giveaway for me is the large, prominent bracts, sharply bent column arms with toothbrush-like hair tufts and the robust habit of the plant.” Thanks Sheridan. Here are my other articles on Thelymitra plus some outside links you may find useful:
https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/the-great-sun-orchid-thelymitra-grandiflora/
https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/spotted-sun-orchid-have-a-lush-colour-palette/
https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/the-salmon-thelymitra/
https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/rabbit-ears-sun-orchids-in-profusion-at-cromer-conservation-park/

http://www.retiredaussies.com/ColinsHome%20Page/Orchidssa/Thelymitra/Thelymitra%20bracteata%20SA/Thelymitra%20bracteata%20SA09.htm
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Thelymitra+bracteata

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Caladenia leptochila aka Arachnorchis leptochila – The Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid

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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) leptochila aka Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid, Delicate-lipped Caladenia
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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) leptochila aka Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid, Delicate-lipped Caladenia
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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) leptochila aka Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid, Delicate-lipped Caladenia
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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) leptochila aka Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid, Delicate-lipped Caladenia

Caladenia (Arachnorchis) leptochila aka Narrow-lipped Spider-orchid, Delicate-lipped Caladenia
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiospermae
Class: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Caladeniinae
Morialta Conservation Park – September 2013 – mild, wet conditions on Central Track

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

There is a lot of confusion with plant taxonomy at the moment, and this is one of the victims – Some call it Caladenia leptochila, and others use the name Arachnorchis leptochila ssp leptochila. It often grows nearby to other species such as Caladenia tentaculata, but it is much more slender and the scented tentacled petals, or segments,  curve more vertically upwards. It has a hairy stem and is 15-45cm high.
Its flowers can be seen usually on solitary spikes in Spring, from September to November in the Mount Lofty Ranges. According to NOSSA, it prefers “leached, stony soils”. I first encountered it in close proximity to Caladenia tentaculata and at first thought it must be an emerging flower of that species, but after walking around the gravelly, gentle slope, I saw there were clearly two species – I was so stunned by these two species and the others I saw that day! One of the greatest days of my life and my brother and I still refer to that day as Orchid Day! See my other posts on Spider-orchid species here:

https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/caladenia-tentaculata-a-sophisticated-mimic/

https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/veined-caladenia/

https://sanatureteers.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/little-desert-spider-orchid/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caladenia

http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Narrow-lip+Spider+Orchid
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Arachnorchis+leptochila
http://www.johnwamsley.com/november28.html

http://nossa.org.au/tag/arachnorchis-leptochila/

The Great Sun-orchid – Thelymitra grandiflora

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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid

Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
Working classification…
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Charophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoidae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Thelymitrinae
Mount George Conservation Park (Deanery Hill), South Australia – October 18th, 2014 – warm conditions after previous day’s rain

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

This is not a common species, but it is pretty spectacular! One source in The South Australian Naturalist, November, 1919, described it as “The most robust member of the genus”, and in The Gardener’s Chronicle, April 15th, 1882 this species was described as “…the largest and most beautiful Thelymitra known”. Flowers about 3cm wide heavily clustered up a tall stem 35-75cm high. Among the many similar plain blue species, this is possibly the least difficult to identify because of its size and the lemony colouration of its central sex parts. Like all Sun orchids, this species needs warm weather over 25 degrees C to open the flowers. It blooms from October to December.

http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:apni.taxon:563420
http://www.johnwamsley.com/november21.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelymitra

Caladenia tentaculata – A Sophisticated Mimic

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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, or King Spider Orchid
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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, or King Spider Orchid

Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, King Spider Orchid and a host of other names
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiospermae
Class: Liliopsida (?) Monocots (?)
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Scott Creek Conservation Park – October 11th, 2014 – warm, dry conditions on Currawong Ridge Track

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

I took these pictures on a warm, windy day and these Orchids are a striking sight – waving about. The Australian bush is full of spiky-looking critters, especially insects, and this Spider Orchid is designed to attract just such a critter, using its critter-like features, as well as its pheromones! – The tentacles have a wasp-like scent that draws the male Thynnine Wasp in to pollinate with the “apparent” flightless female it sees in the shape of the middle of the flower. The Orchid smears pollen on the Wasp when it attempts to mate, and the pollen is carried to the next Orchid flower by the unsatisfied Wasp, where the pollen is rubbed off, completing the transfer and enabling the fertilization of the flower – A complex, marvellous deception that demonstrates the interwoven evolution of these species by their mutual dependence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caladenia
http://biology-assets.anu.edu.au/hosted_sites/orchid_pollination/

A Paler Waxlip

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Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid
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Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid

Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiospermae
Class: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Caladeniinae
Top:
Scott Creek Conservation Park – October, 2013 – sunny, windy conditions
Bottom:
Morialta Conservation Park – September, 2013 – wet conditions

Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz

The Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Glossodia major, also known as the Waxlip, also occurs in this pale form – I don’t think this is a true albino, but there is another form which seems to be almost pure white, but I have only seen those in photos. It makes a striking change to see these in the Bush.

Pink Fingers Orchid

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Caladenia carnea aka Pink Fingers Orchid
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Class: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Cromer Conservation Park – August 27th, 2014 – pleasant conditions

Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz

This is the type species for Caladenia – It is quite a common species, but soon may be subdivided into a number of different species as more work is done – It occurs in Eastern Australia and Tasmania – There is some variation in colour and can be easily mistaken for several other similar Orchids.

Is This A Flower Only A Pollinator Could Love?

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Pterostylis (Urochilus) sanguinea aka Urochilus sanguineus, Banded Greenhood
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperm
Class: Monocot
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Aldinga Scrub, South Australia – August 16th, 2014 – overcast conditions with occasional light rain

Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz

Well, what do you think? – Is This A Flower Only A Pollinator Could Love?

Flowers are more than symbols, more than decoration – This isn’t a flower only pollinators can love, this is a flower for the adventurous, the intellectually divergent, the quirky, the big-of-heart – Once you embrace this Quasimodo of a flower, you are embracing a richer, deeper beauty and you will be the richer for it!