Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tiny Helmet Orchids

Dark Red Corybas specimen
I have been following the development of some tiny Helmet Orchid flowers (probably Corybas aconitiflorus) in a patch of wet Melaleuca scrub near Robertson. Those plants are growing in an atypical environment for this species, (which normally likes leaf litter in Eucalypt forests). Where this first group of Corybas are found, is wet and dark. The 5c coin is shown for scale.
I wrote about them two weeks ago.
This one is abnormal in its colour. Dark red.

Many of these flowers are pale green, with a few purple veins. They also have an unusual protrusion, under the "helmet" which is the edge of the "labellum" (which is normally hidden inside the "helmet"). Click on the photo to enlarge it - you will see what I mean.
This feature is common to both groups of these plants, even though they are in different environments, and separated by about 15 Km.

Corybas aconitiflorus -
in situ,
in dry leaf litter
This second group, in East Kangaloon, is growing in a far more typical environment for these plants - tall Eucalypt forest. So, I checked them out today, and bingo - a veritable truckload of them were to be found. (Click on the photo to see it properly.)

It never ceases to amaze me that I can go into the same patch of forest time and time again, and suddenly I will find a new patch of Orchids. Although I was aware of a few plants growing there, today, I literally found hundreds of them. Many are growing so close that they are touching.

pale green flower
Here is a Australian 5 cent coin (which is 19mm in diameter), to show the scale of this flower. It was 14 mm on my measurement, from front to back of the flower, although, of course, being so strongly curved, the measurement is only of the outer perimeter of the curved shape of the flower.

darker flowered form
Here is a nice pair of two darker flowers. There is considerable variation amongst the individual flowers, although most in this colony were pale.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Denis,

are Corybas aconitiflorus now known as Corysanthes aconitiflorus?



Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye
No. They stayed the same. The other group of Helmet Orchids with "teeth" or fringes, and which are help more open (virtually relining backwards) have been renamed.