Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Tiny flowers of Sarcochilus hillii

Unlike the large and showy flowers of my local Sarcochilus falcatus (the "Orange-blossom Orchid") these tiny flowers of the related Sarcochilus hillii are exquisite in delicate colour and form - but tiny.
Sarcochilus hillii
According to my guide for the day, Alan Stephenson, these flimsy plants are referred to as "twig epiphytes", meaning they grow in the very finest of branches of their favourite host tree the Grey Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia). 

In some cases their manner of growth reminds me of the "Tangle-root Orchid" (Plectorrhiza tridentata) often growing by means of roots holding the plant up to the branch above it, because the roots are stronger than the flimsy, (often dead) twigs on which the plant has grown. Here is a case in point. The flowering plant is growing by roots connected to the branch above, while the twig on which it is growing is broken.
Sarcochilus hillii - growing as a "Twig Epiphyte"

These plants were mostly growing on the damp stems of small Grey Myrtle bushes.
Sarcochilus hillii growing on smallish Grey Myrtle tree.

Although there were some of thee Orchids growing on moss-covered rocks on the ground below these trees. In the Shoalhaven Valley area - 30 Kms west from Nowra - (where we were) the Grey Myrtle mostly grows as a dense thicket along wet creek lines. In this creek the myrtles stopped about 50 metres from either side of the creek. The Sarcochilus hillii plants stopped with the edge of the Myrtle thicket.


Colin Rowan said...

Dennis, are these just out - It would be nice to be up there! Colin

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Colin and Mischa
This is your reward for diligent reading!
Yes. Photos taken 27 December. Just started to flower. Probably 2 weeks of flowering time left (from today).
Other locations might be more delayed (if colder). It has been cool up until yesterday.
Hope you can make it. I was going to send you a message, but you picked it up anyway. Well done.
Apart from those, the usual summer Orchids are out - Hyacinths (Dipodium variegatum, punctatum and roseum); Cryptostylis erecta, subulata, and leptochila (plus some hunteriana still going (in Shoalhaven). Prasophyllum flava are still around (uncommon, but findable). Beard Orchids (Calochilus campestris) a few still around, but mostly finished.
Pls email me or phone me when coming.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Very interesting and informative. Happy New Year, Carolyn

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Carolyn
You and I are in opposite climate right now.
Imagine a warm day and flowering Orchids! I AM GOING BACK THERE THIS MORNING TO SHOW A FRIEND.
Then we might have a swim.

Wilma said...

Those flowers of Sarcochilus hillii are a real work of art, so much gorgeous detail in such a small thing. Your blog is helping me stay warm in our cold, cold winter. ;-)


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Wilma
Glad to help cheer you up in the cold of your winter.
Saw these ridiculously small flowers again today. Makes me laugh really. The Flash I use with my Macro Lens is busted, and with just a normal lens in natural light there was no point in trying to photograph anything of these flowers.
So tiny.

Carol said...

What beauty in such tiny flowers. The delicate lines and forms are stunning. Thank you for bringing them to closer . . . the better to view. Happy New Year!!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Carol,
Happy to share with people who enjoy their delicate beauty.
Hope you are getting through the cold spell over there.

catmint said...

exquisite orchids, thanks for the post.