Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tiny Greenhoods - two forms.

Yesterday I found some of the Tiny Greenhoods (Speculantha sp aff. parviflora). These plants are well known to me, however, it has been a dry season, and an entire patch of land where these plants normally flower has no flowers visible. They may yet come of into flower, if we get some decent rain. Perhaps. Maybe not. Time will tell.

There were two different forms of these related plants, growing close together, but I believe them to be different species. They are all known as "Tiny Greenhoods", of which there can be no doubt. The old name for these plants is Pterostylis parviflora.

This Fly arrived conveniently while I was photographing the flower.
In view of its size, relative to the flower, it is not likely to be a pollinator.
The books say these plants are pollinated by small Gnats.
This fly is a regular House Fly, or similar species,
so using that for scale, you can tell how small these flowers are.
As with many other Orchids, the taxonomy has not yet been worked out, and that is why, for the first group, (the brownish ones) I am using the "sp. aff", which is shorthand for "species close to" Speculantha parviflora. One day we hope to have good names for these different plants.

These plants open the lowest flower on the stem, first.
The lowest flower is an old flower, turning reddish.
The middle flower is fully mature, and is dark brown, nearly black on top of the Galea (hood).
The top flower is just opening, and is still pointed, not rounded in profile.
These 3 flowers are all on the one stem, coming from the same plant,
so any differences in them are differences in maturity, not genetics.
Here is another "group" shot - all on the one stem.
The youngest flower, on the right has not yet extended its stem to its full (expected) height.
The "points" on the fully matured flower (middle) are clearly visible on the side of the flower. They do not rise above the "galea".
The Labellum is not visible, as it is held low down, behind the "sinus" (the front of the flower)(click on the image, to enlarge it)
Here is a cropped image of a single flower on a triple-flowered stem.
This is another cropped image, a shot of a single flower on a multiple-flowered stem.
This is the lowest flower (therefore the oldest).
These flowers increase their redness as they mature.
Below are some specimens (two different plants) of the classic green form of Speculantha parviflora. These plants were growing less than 30 metres from the brown plants illustrated above.

There are some significant differences between the form of these green flowers, and the brown specimens illustrated above. Click on this image below to enlarge it.

  1. The "points" are longer, rising just above the hood (galea).
  2. The sinus is bulging out to form a small "platform" at the front of the flower,
  3. The tops of the galea are flat, not rounded.
  4. The bracts below the flowers are larger and more prominent.
If you wish to see Colin and Mischa's photos of these two categories of Tiny Greenhoods, visit this page of their Retired Aussies Website. For all their recent finds, in NSW go to their NSW Orchids page. They have some really interesting finds amongst the Corunastylis page.

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