Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Rare Seasonal Orchid found in Robertson

An extremely rare Ground Orchid has been found around Robertson. It is the Bearded Santorchid (Santorchidius hirsutus). (Click on the photo to enlarge it)

This rare Seasonal Orchid may be found only in the late afternoon of 24 December, and early in the morning of 25 December. The flower lasts only a few hours, before withdrawing underground, to rest for the entire next year's season.
Rumours of its appearance in remote and widely separated locations have sparked the idea that its seeds are carried about in the pouches of Wallabies which are fond of the particular grass species with which this Orchid has a symbiotic relationship.

You can find this plant if you look amongst the long
Wallaby Grass (Austrodanthonia tenuior), under Eucalypt trees, in the sandstone country, for example along Tourist Road.


Apparently the flowers are pollinated by the tiny fingers of small children, reaching inside the flower, seeking to find sweet grains of the Orchid's pollen, which they love.


Its rapid appearance and then disappearance is explained by the saprophytic nature of this Orchid, (see discussion re the Hyacinth Orchid and the Potato Orchid). This means it does not have to stay above ground to produce food by photosynthesis, so it only needs to be above ground briefly, just until the flowers are pollinated.


ah said...

I won't believe a word you say in this blog any more!

Denis Wilson said...

Anni, you have been my longest-serving and most loyal reader. And it has taken you this long?

I was hoping to boost my credibility with the "Under 5" demographic, but it seems I have mis-judged my market.