Two years ago (minus two days), I found Petalochilus mentiens (the "Lesser Fingers Orchid") on Tourist Road. Those flowers were more reddish than the flowers I found today. Apart from that, they are very very similar. These flowers are so tiny they really do earn their "lesser fingers" name. There is an other, equally small flower in Victoria, but it has a thicker stem, apparently, and some other fine differences. Petalochilus mentiens is well reported from the Bowral area, having been photographed in this area by Mark Clements.
I searched in vain for this species last year, and also several times already this season. Today I found them again.
My friends, Colin and Misha have photos of this species taken this year, near Narrandera, NSW. The season must start a bit earlier out on the Murrumbidgee plains than here in the Southern Highlands.
This tiny flower is taller than
many Petalochilus fuscatus I have seen this year,
but the flowers are very much smaller.
Click on these images to enlarge them to see the details better.
|Petalochilus mentiens - a tiny flowered "Finger Orchid"|
The 20 cent coin (for scale) is 28mm across
|Petalochilus mentiens - with a 20 cent coin for scale.|
Note the dark exterior of the flower and closely held (low) dorsal sepal.
|Petalochilus mentiens - side view|
In this photo you can see
the two lateral sepals (centre "fingers")
are very closely held.
The botanists refer to them being fused at the base.
|Petalochilus mentiens - note the protruding labellum tip|
|Petalochilus mentiens - amongst grass.|
This is what I mean by being a tiny flower.
This is the tip of my little finger for scale.
I took this shot before I found I had a coin with me.
Measuring my little fingernail, as I write,
I make it to be 9.5mm long and 9mm wide.
|Petalochilus mentiens - with my little fingernail for scale|
|A better shot (for scale) of Petalochilus mentiens|