Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Another Beard Orchid - Calochilus pulchellus

This is yet another rare Orchid. According to Alan Stephenson, these plants are known from only several localities south from Nowra. This plant is Calochilus pulchellus - the "Pretty Beard Orchid".

(I prefer the traditional translation of "pulchellus" - as "beautiful")

This plant is heavy hooded by the dorsal sepal,
in much the same way that C. robertsonii is "hooded".
The colouration of the dorsal sepal and indeed the whole plant
has much more yellow than C. robertsonii.
The plant is also smaller.
According to an article written by Alan, about the relocation of a number of specimens of this Orchid, to protect them from a development proposal, there are only about 30 known individuals of this species - anywhere.

By anywhere, I mean Anywhere in the World!
We found 8 specimens on this particular site.

The colour of the labellum is a bright red
with darker red "hairs" towards the apex of the labellum
(Remember - as the labellum is pointing down,
the "apex" is actually the lower end).
Here is a detailed look into the "eyes" of this Beard Orchid.
The plant's pollinia (pollen grains) are visible still in position
inside the anther (the "nose-like" projection) between the "fake eyes"
What a stunningly rich colour lies hidden inside the flower!


mick said...

Hi Denis, I went over to Alan's site and read about the attempted trans-location of those other plants and found it very interesting - but also very disturbing that it is so difficult to preserve such rare plants and flowers. It's also very disturbing that 'we' (Aussies collectively) take so little care to preserve the unique plants and animals in our own country. All this makes your photos of this orchid even more special!

Anonymous said...

Your series of 'Bearded Orchids' has been fascinating - all new to me. I can understand the excitement of the 'orchid hunt' .....nice that its just images you're collecting.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Barbara.
Glad you checked out Alan's article, Mick.
He has done an enormous amount of work documenting these (and other) rare Orchids in his capacity as Conservation Officer with the Australasian Native Orchid Society.
I just read a report that Stockland (the company he had to deal with in this case) is moving in on Caloundra, Qld, so goodness knows what damage they will inflict in the name of "Development".
Barbara, with these Orchids, on can never give out anything specific about locations, as there are unscrupulous collectors out there.

Gouldiae said...

Stunning Denis,
Only 30 odd known plants and you've seen 8! Nice to know there are people like yourself and Alan who care so much for a humble plant. Have you seen this news item?
Link -

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae.
Thanks, yes another friend had sent to to me and to Alan.
Alan was involved in that "rescue mission" although he is not named in the article.
Underground Orchids are too hard for me. They literally have to scratch away the leaf litter and bark around old Eucalypts to find them.
Amazing stuff.
Thanks for sending that link. It reminds me to send it on to our local Orchid society newsletter editor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Denis,

Slowly it is winter again with us, and I have again to look about thee gone. Yes orchids are already wonderful. I also see the different faces in these most beautiful flowers. It was not until this year I saw an orchid in Malorca that looked like a laughing clown.

Greetings Peter

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Peter.
Nice to hear from you again.
Not familiar with the "laughing clown Orchid", but our imaginations can be powerful. Some Orchids do produce "faces" as part of their structure of glands.
Hope you find lots of interesting Fungi on Malorca.
Thanks for commenting.