Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pink Sun Orchid - Thelymitra carnea

I have been promising to publish my Pink Sun Orchid (Thelymitra carnea) as my blogging colleagues in Victoria have been finding the related T. rubra. By all reports, their plants are taller, and probably darker - which is roughly the distinction between these two closely related species.

My plants are no more than 150mm tall (approx 6 inches). They are growing in shallow black soil, over a sandstone bedrock. It is in open grass beside a road verge, which is slashed routinely, as a fire break. They love this position and do not stray into the forested areas close by, it seems. This patch is the only place I know locally where these flowers are found.

These plants have either a single flower, or a flower and a spare bud. They are notoriously shy of flowering, so normally one sees closed buds.
The buds are recognisably those of this species, for they show the colour clearly enough.
Here is an open flower.
Another flower, cropped to see it close up.
That image, when cropped further gives this
charmingly detailed view of the
important reproductive parts of the flower.
Click to enlarge the image - if you dare!
Orchids are explicit flowers - they show you what they are about..
Now we need to look from the side, to see the column wing details
Unlike the blue Sun Orchids I have seen this year,
this plant has no "brushes" on the column arms,
Instead, there is simply an extension of the hard, yellow waxy top
of the column.
This plant has just a faint red mark behind the column top.
Contrast that with JL's image (linked).
From the other side, you can clearly see how the yellow column arms
protrude to protect the column itself.
These small Pink Sun Orchids are worth waiting for.
But you must go out on a hot day to see them open
from about 11 AM to 3 PM.

In case anyone is wondering what is behind the foregoing comment, this is the view from my back deck on Sunday afternoon. Robertson has remembered how to rain and to have fog in the middle of the afternoon. This weather is NOT SUITABLE for Sun Orchids to open. And that probably explains why so many of that genus are reported to be self-pollinating.


mick said...

Lovely flowers! I checked back in my records for when I saw the diuris flowering and also the sun orchird and found both were flowering in August. Our season up here must be far advanced from yours.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick,
That is very interesting.
It fits with your early bushfire seasons, too, up there, compared to the seasons south from Sydney.