Unfortunately, yesterday (Monday 19 October 2009) the ever-so helpful road workers from the Wingecarribee Shire used their graders, bobcats and sweepers to clear the road verge of all signs of life. No doubt, with bushfire season approaching, they had their reasons, but I keep asking why do this kind of work now, and not in mid winter? Orchids such as these plants are not "fuel" to sustain a bushfire. Firstly, they are moist plants, not dry, combustible material. Secondly, they are within a forest of highly combustible material, so this is merely "window dressing" by Council - the pretence of fire prevention. As I said it could have been done in Winter, when the damage they have now caused would be minimised, but removal of dry leaf litter woud have been achieved. When will they ever learn? I shall be writing to Council to point out the inadvertent damage they have caused.These plants have now been killed. At least I found them when they were in flower. However, the Sun Orchids which were budding up beautifully on Saturday morning have all now "gone to God", as the saying is. What an ignorant act by Council!This plant is now known as Stegostyla moscata. It is also known as the Musky Finger Orchid. It has apparently recently been separated from the very similar looking Stegostyla gracilis, which is now regarded as restricted to Tasmania and Victoria (to the N-E). My source for this is David Jones recent book "Field Guide to the Orchids of the ACT" (2008).
My blogging colleague JL has recently published photos of the similar, but darker marked flowers of Stegostyla cucullata. Those plants have been photographed in the Grampians, in western Victoria. My plant's labellum tip is clearly bright magenta purple, whereas JL's plant has a dark purple labellum tip.
This image is taken from very low down, to see up into the column.Here is another plant which I found in late September, in Kangaloon. I believe it to be the same species, but in view of the uncertainty of namings and the lack of good reference material, I cannot be absolutely sure. The angle of this photo is more horizontal than the previous image, so you are seeing higher up along the labellum. This image does show the 4 lines of "clubs" (glands) on the labellum.
Click to enlarge image.
Click to enlarge image.
These images show these plants against the dry leaf litter on the forest floor. As you can see this part of the forest floor is covered with highly combustible materials, which is all still there, as the road cleaning took place only on the road verge, where the other plants were growing.
Two flowers on a 25mm long stem.
This plant has three flowers.