Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two tiny purple-lipped ground Orchids (Caladenias).

My Blogging colleague, Martin of "The House of Fran_mart", has coined the phrase "not-Caladenias" for just this situation. I will post about two Stegostyla species. They are tiny, bronze-tinted and purple-lipped ground Orchids which used be listed as Caladenias.

David Jones has classified them both as "Stegostyla". Not everybody agrees. See the introductory comments on nomenclature by Peter Weston in the PlantNET site under Caladenia. I support the use of the new names, for as a field guide, the name Stegostyla, whilst unfamiliar to many people, does identify certain features of these tiny finger Orchids
  • a rough external coating to the flower,
  • and a closely hooded dorsal sepal.
Whereas to say "there is a Caladenia behind that bush over there", could mean just about any shape or size of ground Orchid.

The first of these pair of related species is Stegostyla testacea.
PlantNET says that it is rarely more than 2 flowered, so I guess that this three-flowered stem indicates a good strong specimen.
Here is the same stem of flowers from a different angle.

Here is the "labellum" seen close up.
The recurved purple-tipped lip is very prominently marked.
The "calli" (glands) form 4 parallel rows in the centre of the labellum
and there are "clubs" protruding along the edge of the labellum.
Those calli and clubs are tipped with purple,
even further back along the labellum where the labellum is white.
Steg. testacea shown on a fairly normal bent flower stem.
Its hows well the dark bronzed tips of the "fingers"
and the green back of the strongly hooded dorsal sepal.
These plants were not "common" but if you get amongst them
you may find as many of fifty flowers growing in a loose colony.
They were growing in mixed Stringybark and Scribbly Gum

(Eucalypt) forest on sandstone,
beside Tourist Road in Kangaloon.

Here is the second flower for today.
It is Stegostyla transitoria.
The specific name indicates that these flowers are short-lived.
As "Caladenias" are concerned,
this plant is very fine (small, not-chunky).

You can see the creamy coloured sepals and lateral petals (the "fingers")
At this distance you can see the dark purple labellum.
The tips of the "fingers" are showing a bronze tinge.
The entire back of the flower and the hood are greenish bronze.
You can see the labellum is covered in warty purple calli.
They are larger and more dense than the previous species.
The colour looks to me like blackberry jam.
More red than purple, as distinct from the previous species.
But there are obvious similarities between them.
This next image is taken from a very low angle
(that shot required me to be flat on the ground, obviously).
The purpose is to reveal the prominent pollen grains (pollinia)
and the red markings on the column
(at the back of the inside of the flower)
(Click to enlarge image).
This plant was found near the quarry
in the Carrington Falls Nature Reserve.
It was growing in a moist mossy bank of shallow soil.


Flabmeister said...

I must attribute praise where it is due: it was my wife Frances (the fran of fran_mart) who invented the phrase. I just (ab)use it!

Great images! Most of the species of Stegastyla in this area look very like the palest forms of Pterostylis.

I also end up on the ground for some of my snaps. When we lived near Black Mountain in Canberra we'd sometimes see a circle of backsides poked in the air: it was a good field mark for identifying orchid-watchers - and orchids.


Snail said...

Such delicate flowers! Don't think I'll ever get the hang of orchids, but I love looking at your pics.

I am delighted to report that I have seen my first flowering orchid here --- a Cymbidium (canaliculatum?) rescued from a fallen tree by my neighbours. (It had to be rescued or the pademelons would have eaten it.)