Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Greenhoods - a hybrid mystery solved

Two years ago, when the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society came up to Tourist Road, Graeme Bradburn spotted a Greenhood in a tiny drainage line. I was pleased and cranky at the same time - as I had regularly checked this drainage line looking for - you guessed it Greenhoods - and I had never found one!

Anyway, on the ANOS tour this year, Graeme struck again.
Pterostylis x ingens
Not only did he find the "supposed hybrid" Pterostylis x ingens, but there then followed some discussion about how this "hybrid" was here, when we had not seen either "supposed parents" (Pt. nutans and Pt. falcata) in the area.
Labellum of Pt. x ingens

***** ***** *****
Suddenly another member of the group called out: "Here is Falcata".
Indeed it was there - a mere 30 metres away from the hybrid plants.
I guess that solved part of the riddle.

The "Sickle Greenhood" Pterostylis falcata
(my first ever).
You can see the extremely long, pointed hood (galea).
The "hood" consists of 3 parts, the dorsal sepal and two petals.
The dorsal sepal far exceeds the petals
(which are bent down - on this specimen).
Here is the rear view of the plant.
One of the two plants in flower on that day
had a slightly damaged petal which was "drooping".
However, this image was taken to show the labellum.
It is nearly closed. Normally it should be protruding.
Here it is seen from very low down, to show the labellum.
By then, it was closed off (in the "triggered) position.
Note the very widely spaced dorsal sepals
and the deeply notched "sinus" (the "v" shaped part).
This is a "labelled" image,
as Greenhoods are very different from most other Orchids,
and the "experts" use specific words for the parts of the plant.


Boobook said...

Like when I go out with real birdwatchers and they see or hear a 'new' bird on my patch. The glass-half-full approach is to learn from the experience rather than fall into a depression:)

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Boobook
Yes, that's the feeling.
Partly glad, and partly annoyed - at the same time.
As you say, get over it and be pleased that you have seen something new - even if someone else pointed it out to you (me).

Tyto Tony said...

Count yourself lucky. Many of the 'new' birds claimed for my patch lately have been misidentified old familiars. But there could be untold unseen orchids for all I'd know.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
I didn't claim this Greenhood when it was first located (two years ago) as frankly I was not "convinced" by the hybrid theory.
This time it all looks good.
Re newcomers "claiming" new species for your patch, I can understand your concerns.
"Twitchers" have an inherent unreliability, as they are always so keen to add "lifers" to their lists.