Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tiny Greenhoods - better photos

Following up the posts of the last two day, I went back today and captured some better photos of these amazing miniature Greenhood Orchids - Speculantha parviflora. Here is a small group of these plants growing in grass and low shrubbery. They are growing under Eucalypt trees, in medium shade. The soil is sandstone, with some exposed rocks close by. The sandstone soil is greyish, with some organic material apparent. By contrast, about 100 metres away (uphill), the soil is yellowish and very fine sandy soil. There are some of the brown form of the Tiny Greenhoods growing in that more exposed site, and on the poorer soil. This is my best photo of the front of one typical flower.With the camera in just the right position one can see the tip of the labellum (just visible behind the notch in the front of the flower). At the back of the flower, you can see the pollinia, still in situ (inside the "column"). This flower is fresh, still awaiting the arrival of an insect to take the pollen away to another plant. You can also see the split in the "hood" (the "galea") formed by the two petals (one on either side) which are fused with the dorsal sepal (in the centre) to form the "hood".Here is a side-on view of two flowers. These flowers are shrouded in cobwebs, as often happens.Here is a nice stem with two fresh flowers, and two which have finished. The lowest flower looks like it is dying, but the second one appears to have been successfully pollinated, as the "ovary" (the solid organ underneath the flower) is starting to swell. It will form a seed capsule. Here are 3 photos of these plants fused together to give you the whole picture in a single image.And here is a new image of the comparison with the green plant (Speculantha parviflora) and the brown form of the Tiny Greenhood. As with yesterday's photo, you can clearly see the "platform" which is quite prominent at the front of the green species. And the "hood" ("galea") is so obviously pointed, whereas the brown plant has a flatter front and a blunt (rolled) tip on the hood.

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