This is a common little Orchid, which I quite like, but which I have always found hard to photograph. There is usually a depth of field problem with small flowers which have a large protruding section. Either the front is in focus and the rear of the flower is not, or vice versa.
So this Autumn, I vowed to try to overcome that problem. Click to enlarge the images.The first issue with these plants is the colour variation.
I cannot say if they change from pink to white, as the flowers mature, as I would need to go back and find a particular flower after a few days. Without a marking system, it is hard to know exactly which plant I had photographed 3 days before, or a week before. I confess I am not that organised.
So let me just say there are both pink plants and white plants (true statement). Whether flowers which start out as pink, fade to white I cannot say.
This plant flowers either without any leaf visible at flowering time, or with just a small leaf which develops more fully after the flower has finished. It is described as having a "ground hugging" leaf. This species has a green reverse side of the leaf. You can see that I am holding one leaf folded back, to show the green reverse side. In fact these plants have faint purple edge of the leaf, on both top and bottom. Click to enlarge image.This is my favourite image of this species. It is of a white form, from Tallong. It looks to me like it is holding up its little arms, saying: "Don't shoot".
You can clearly see the yellow pollen grains in the "column" just partially covered. There is an apparent "clowns mouth" (look for the "white lips") which is an opening leading to the nectar producing glands. You can clearly see the bead of moisture (nectar) in the column, in each of these 3 images.
The white lateral sepals are said to resemble the "collars" worn by once Clerics. Hence the name. This image of Charles Wesley's Clerical Collar might help people understand. Does it now look familiar? The two white protruding tabs are what prompted the name.This is Eriochilus cucullatus. There is another related species which I have not yet seen, but I hope to track them down. It is Eriochilus petricola (or E. autumnalis as it was once known). It has a leaf which is more fully developed at flowering time. That species apparently has a purple coloured reverse of the leaf.