Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hunchback Orchids starting up in the Southern Highlands

I saw a budding Hunchback Orchid last week at Budderoo Plateau. But when I went back yesterday I could not find that plant. Perhaps a Wallaby or Wombat had eaten it as "lunch".

I did see several others (in flower) there, but they were not "out the open" (growing through shallow heath plants) so they were harder to photograph clearly.

Here are several plants I found at Manning Lookout (near Fitzroy Falls) today.

I really like the elegant lines of these flowers. 
The colour combination of deep red stripes 
over soft olive green base colour is very appealing.
The labellum is prominently creased
as well as being "reflexed" (bent upwards).
Mecopodum striatum - Eastern Hunchback Orchid
 The second flower in this pair has been disturbed somewhat, and the two pollen grains have been dislodged from their normal position. You can see on the left flower, the pollen grains are normally held under the column. Remember this Orchid, is now separated from the Leek Orchids (Prasophyllum) but is obviously closely related to them. Therefore, as with the Leek Orchids, its structure is "upside down" when compared to most Orchids. The dorsal sepal and column and hence the pollen grains are held low down in the flower. The labellum is the reflexed white organ which point up in the air.
Mecopodum striatum - Eastern Hunchback Orchid
Here is a single Speculantha I found there, too. A lovely specimen, but quite late flowering for this district. Alan still has Speculanthas in flower near Nowra, but the plants I know from Tourist Road have all finished flowering. I found other finished flowers today at the same location.
Speculantha sp aff parviflora - Sthn Highlands form.

This is a typical Southern Highlands form, albeit a very nicely coloured specimen. The "points" do not reach the top of the hood, much less exceed it. Click to enlarge the image, to discern what I am trying to describe. Look for the curving sepal held close beside the hood.


Flabmeister said...

Most excellent images as usual. I continue to be amazed at the number of orchid genera (let alone species) which I have never seen.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
This was one species I had hoped to show you last weekend at Kangaroo Hill. The road problems prevented that.
It is a lovely thing. Quite small.
Seems to like mossy beds over sandstone - at least that's the only place where I have seen them.