This plant was the reason for me going with Alan Stephenson, to Granite Falls, two weeks ago, and nearly busting my foot in the process. I hobbled for two weeks as a result of the difficult terrain there. Yet I went back again once my foot had recovered (to see this plant in flower). The bonus was getting the shot of the gills of the blue Entoloma Fungus, yesterday (which shot I ought have taken previously, but didn't because my foot was so sore). The Skink with the Flying Ant was a further bonus.
For once this awful name cannot be blamed on the Polish botanist, Dariusz Szlachetko, who has a love of giving our Orchids ugly names. This one has "Benth" in brackets after its name, but I think Mr George Bentham probably called it Pterostylis daintreana (certainly not Pharochilum daintreanum).
From what I can gather, this name is down to Jones and Clements.
Orchidaceae "Pharochilum" D.L.Jones & M.A.Clem. Austral. Orchid Res. 4: 80 (2002).
Mr Bentham was an eminent English chap. He worked initially as an amateur botanist, but his work was so well regarded by his associates, especially Sir Joseph Hooker (the younger Hooker), that he was invited to work at Kew Gardens as a botanical researcher. Eventually he published his Flora Australiensis, in seven volumes (1863–1878). Somewhere along the line he managed to be president of the Linnean Society for 14 years, and was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society.
As for the "daintreana" part, it is a little unclear to me, But I assume it is named after Mr Edwin Daintrey, an "expert amateur botanist and a founder of the Linnean Society of NSW" rather than the Mr Richard Daintree, the Government Geologist for North Queensland (and amateur botanist while in Queensland). The latter man clearly got the river named after him. But David Jones in his book refers to it as "Daintree's Greenhood". I remain sceptical, but without access to the original text of Bentham's Flora Australiensis (in 7 volumes) I cannot check that fact. You can make up your own mind which of those fine amateur botanists was the more likely nominee. If indeed it is named after Mr Richard Daintree, then there must be a spelling mistake in the original Latin Botanical description, for the "form" is wrong. Note that Mr Daintree does have an Acacia named after him, but it has the "double e" in the plant name - Acacia daintreeana (F. Muell) That's why I have gone with Mr Edwin Daintrey as the more likely person after whom this plant was named (that and the fact that it is primarily a southern NSW Plant - but it does apparently stray into Queensland).
This story is a bit like "Great Expectations" (pity poor Martin, waiting, waiting, and wading through all this historical stuff, with just a little botanical terminology thrown in to annoy him further).
Enough already. Here is the plant in question.
|Pharochilum daintreanum in situ, growing out from under a rock.|
And a funny little thing it is too.Clearly it is a Greenhood, and clearly related to the Bunochilus group and the Rustyhoods (Oligochaetochilus) with that high prominent "brow" on the "hood" (galea), and the very low-held ("deflexed") lateral sepals.
What I was not expecting was just how flimsy the plant is. The stem is very fine, not much thicker than a matchstick. This particular plant stands about 180mm high (approx 8 inches in the "old money").
But here at last one can see the flower structure.
|Pharochilum daintreanum - a lateral view.|
Note the fine pointed "lateral sepals" (the bits underneath the "hood")
In this next image, note the dark labellum and the two large side lobes.
Those side lobes remind me
of the shape of Donald Campbell's ill-fated "Bluebird"
|Pharochilum daintreanum - a surprise in the shape of the Labellum|
One can clearly see the "side lobes" of the Labellum,
when it is in the closed position.
|Pharochilum daintreanum - underneath view of the labellum when "closed"|
This greenhood has leaf rosettes only when in the non-flowering (sterile) state. Flowering plants have "bract-like stem leaves" (but no rosette). Here are some non-flowering plants, in situ, in moist moss over a shallow rock bed.
|Pharochilum daintreanum - leaf rosettes of non-flowering plants|
So, does this plant warrant its own generic name (separate from the rest of the Pterostylis tribe)?
Well, I think so, for it has very significant differences in flower structure, shape and growth habit from other related Greenhoods I have already mentioned, and it barely resembles other Greenhoods, like the Speculanthas, or Pterostylis acuminata, to name just two recent examples from that group.
So, despite their penchant for "clunky names" I am still a supporter of the revised names of Jones and Clements for Orchids, but most especially for their revision of the genus Pterostylis.
Peter Weston of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney has this to say on the subject. (Note the arrogant use of the Royal Plural in this following quote which he has signed with his own name - not signed as part of any Editorial Committee for PlantNET):
"We have chosen not to recognise the following genera segregated from, or resurrected from synonymy under Pterostylis by Jones & Clements (2002, Australian Orchid Research volume 4): Bunochilus, Crangonorchis, Diplodium, Eremorchis, Hymenochilus, Linguella, Oligochaetochilus, Petrorchis, Pharochilum, Plumatichilos, Ranorchis, Speculantha, Stamnorchis, Taurantha, Urochilus. Those authors justified recognition of these genera on the grounds that their phylogenetic analysis showed these taxa all to be monophyletic and that each was supported by some morphological characters. However, as these authors also noted, Pterostylis, as traditionally circumscribed, is also a monophyletic group that is strongly supported by both morphological and molecular data. The numerous name changes that they proposed for Pterostylis are simply unnecessary. (P.H. Weston March 2007)"
It is remarkably odd that Peter Weston, a recognised authority on Proteaceae is perfectly happy to go along with revisions of names (and "splitting" of species) within the Proteaceae tribe, but refuses to acknowledge the value of naming systems which separate out the blindingly obvious morphological differences in the Greenhood tribe.
This is Plant Politics at its worst.
- Sydney RBG versus CSIRO in Canberra.
- Plant systematics (which few but the ruling "botanical elite" with access to DNA classifiying technology can deal with) - versus accessible, "field work" plant classifications.
- And it ignores clearly identifiable plant characteristics which are relied upon by people like me, who depend upon good names which distinctively identify a plant.
- After all, that is what plant names are good for, surely?
If I say a plant is a "Pterostylis" - it could mean just about anything:
- spring, summer, autumn or winter flowering;
- short or tall;
- with leaf rosettes, or not (when flowering);
- with a simple labellum or, as in this plant, with a broad, prominent labellum capable of blocking off the entire "hood" (when triggered by a pollinating insect);
- with "pointed ears" or deflexed lateral sepals, as in this plant.
The case for this generic name would be even clearer if there were several species within this genus. But this species cannot be held responsible for that fact. But if you were to follow this "naming" issue back to the Bunochilus group, it would be exactly the same argument, and perhaps even more easily justified.