Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A new Tiny Greenhood - Speculantha ventricosa

This is a bit exciting - for me. It is my opportunity to be the first to Blog about a recently described species of Tiny Greenhood. Last Friday Alan Stephenson and I explored for other Orchids after our visit to Granite Falls. This is one of the species we found.

This is Speculantha ventricosa, described by David Jones in the September 2008 edition of The Orchadian, Vol 16 #1. (Cover and contents page only shown). Photos of this species, under this name, have been published on the Internet previously, by Alan Stephenson. Also it is referred to in this article by Alan re the Heritage Estate, near Vincentia, NSW. He has also nominated it as a Critically Endangered Species under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. Its Draft Listing is under the old (more widely accepted) name Pterostylis ventricosa.

This species has previously been identified by way of descriptive names, such as Colin and Mischa Rowan's use of the phrase: "Speculantha sp. aff. parviflora - A Red Form" (The "sp aff" is shorthand for "Species close to, but separate from" Speculantha parviflora). Colin and Mischa have some very nice photos of this species, taken in the same district as today's plants, from south of Nowra. I have no doubt that his images and mine today, are of the same species. The difference is that after discussions and close examination of our photos from last Friday, and his earlier images of the plants which David Jones originally described, Alan has now gone back to David Jones to obtain confirmation that it is appropriate to name these plants with the name Speculantha ventricosa.

Here is a copy of the "recognition notes" 
from David Jones's original text  naming this species.

Click to enlarge text.

David Jones has confirmed the identification of these plants 
in a personal email to Alan Stephenson.

These plants differ from the similar plants found in Kangaloon which do not have the "points" (or ears) protruding above the top of the "hood" (galea).
  1. My local tan coloured form has a shallow (non-protruding) sinus and "points" which do not rise above the "hood". The tip of the dorsal sepal is rounded, not pointed as in today's species, or the nominal species (linked below).
  2. Another local plant is the true "nominal" species, Speculantha parviflora. It has a very prominent sinus (bulging out in front) and ears which reach but do not protrude above the hood.
The plants in today's post were found along the lower end of Twelve Mile Road (when we were on the way back from Granite Falls).

Firstly let us note the colour variation. 
These flowers open from the low end of the stem (bottom first).
As they age, these flowers tend to show a lighter orange-red colouring.
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW)
This image shows the "Points" (ears).
These are the tips of the "lateral Sepals"
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW)
This stem of flowers is fresh, and dark.
They show more green than the previous examples.
But the points are very noticeable.
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW)
 This stem has four open flowers, and several yet to come.
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW) 
Single flower cropped image
Points of the Lateral Sepals are curved over the "hood" (galea)
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW) - single flower cropped
 Note the tip of the labellum is visible in this image.
That is unusual to see in these Tiny Greenhoods.
The point of the dorsal sepal is separated from the petals.
Speculantha ventricosa (near Nowra NSW) - single flower cropped

Here is a labelled image.
Note the pointed tip of the dorsal sepal
(the tip of the "hood" is pointed)
contrasted with my tan form from Kangaloon.
In that (linked) case the plant has a very heavily snubbed "nose".

(Click on photo to enlarge)

How much fun can one have on one day?
And there are the Corunastylis images yet to come.


Flabmeister said...

Brilliant photos, and informative comments, as always.

I am still hanging out to see my first Speculantha of any species. Thanks to the mowing activities of the Mongarlowe RFS! Grrrr!


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
It seems odd that you don't get them.
They are one of the common Orchids here. And we found quite a lot south from Nowra on Friday.
Maybe I just gravitate to places where they grow - out of habit. Who knows?
I love them, as one of the cute little Orchids. Not "pretty", just really tidy little plants.
I remember your encounter with the Goat Lady of Mongarlowe - "No Orchids!".
Almost malicious, as I interpret that comment.
Cheer up.
I shall contact you privately re an idea for a mutual field trip.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered contributing to the Encyclopedia of Life, Denis? I personally think it is an awesome and valuable project.