Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Green forms of Myrmechila formicifera on Macquarie Pass

Today I was showing Colin and Mischa (of Retired some of our local Orchids.

We were having fun, watching out for not squashing some tiny Myrmechila formicifera (AKA Chiloglottis formicifera) plants, which so small, and dark-coloured that they are virtually impossible to see when one is standing up. 
Myrmechila formicifera - normal coloured plant.
Colin was busy repelling the persistent Leeches. 
Colin's pet Leech

Then suddenly he said "Oh look, there's a Green one" (referring to an Orchid).
Sure enough, there were in fact at least 5 green plants.
Here are some images of these beautiful little oddities.

Here is one "front on".
Such a lovely surprise.
A green form of Myrmechila formicifera

In "form" (shape and positioning of the glands) these plants are clearly properly formed as Myrmechila formicifera. They are simply an "alba form" (i.e., lacking normal pigmentation).

Click to enlarge the image, to see the detailed view of the glands.
They have the same "bubbles" of glands on the lower end of the labellum.
That's what defines it as M. formicifera.

I will write more in a few days 
about some others of these plants, 
which seem to be of the related Myrmechila trapeziformis.
There will be more discussion of those plants, 
when we have all had a chance to review Colin and Mischa's photos as well. 

Here is one of mine - 
to show the difference in the labellum glands.
Clean end of the Labellum. 
The "insectiform glands" are concentrated at the head of the labellum 
(close to the main part of the flower). 
Contrast that image with the first image.
Myrmechila trapeziformis at Macquarie Pass
From the PlantNET botanical illustration,  
(AKA Myrmechila trapeziformis)
there seems to be little doubt that we have found
Myrmechila trapeziformis

Botanical illustration from PlantNET for "Chiloglottis trapeziformis"
While drafting this I got an email back from Alan Stephenson
confirming his advice that it is indeed Myrmechila trapeziformis.

 Ah, is it any wonder we love getting out and around in the bush?
As Colin mentioned today, it is remarkable how much more 
a few people can find when working together, 
than a single person will ever find.

Is this the most fun one can have standing up?
Hang on, I spend most of my time down on the ground,
or on my knees,
(taking photos) !!!

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