Today I went back to my friend's property, near Bundanoon, where I had seen a slightly unusual "Wasp Orchid" (formerly known as a "Bird Orchid").
The reason for the return was that Gaye from the Hunter had suggested to me the other day that the photo I had put up was the same species as she had seen recently - Chiloglottis reflexa. I had suggested that my plant was Ch. seminuda, a species I had previously found in Kangaloon.
I had never identified that species, so that was a challenge I could not resist.
I had other reasons to go back too, but more about that in a few days time.
So, armed with my macro lens, and with some time available to me (I had previously been with a group, and I consider it is bad practice to take 20 minutes to line up a series of photos, with a bunch of people waiting for you). So, back I went, today.
The first thing I did was take with me all the relevant books I have. That's a start, I figured.
Then the trusty 10 power hand lens. That actually did the trick for me.
There is another feature, and that is, overall, this plant is more purplish than the other species, in the lateral sepals, and even the stem.
As soon as I found the plant (only one plant out of hundreds was in flower, so even finding the one flower took a little doing) I looked closely at the lateral sepals. They turned out to be slightly cupped along most of their length, until the last 1 cm, where suddenly they thickened up, into rounded "clubs". The terminology is not mine, but that used by the Orchid people. This species is now known as the "Short-clubbed Wasp Orchid" - Chiloglottis reflexa.
This feature is clearly visible in this photo, and the last photo (below), with my finger supporting the lateral sepals.
These plants were growing in tall Eucalypt forest, on deep sandy soil, over sandstone. Apparently this soil type is classified as "Mittagong Sandstone". There is deep leaf litter, where these plants are growing.
From this angle, you can see that the later sepals do not curl back under the labellum (as in my photo of 17 April), nor do they almost touch the stem, as they do in Gaye from the Hunter's photo.
Here you can see the lateral sepal on the right hand side (when looking at the plant) is relatively broad, and suddenly it tapers to a rounded point - the part described as "club-shaped". In fact the part just above my finger is in fact slightly "hollowed" (not flat, but curved, almost in a hollowed out manner).
DJW says: The word I was searching for was "concave".
I was going to ask you to trust me on that point, but I have gone back to the original photos, and I have been able to crop the image of the lateral sepal, at the place where the broad, slightly curved (concave) profile changes suddenly to the short, rounded "club" tip. This is a diagnostic feature of this species.
I know this sounds crazy, but don't blame me. I don't make the rules!
Now you know why Orchid enthusiasts need their 10 power hand lenses.