Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, October 17, 2011

Petalochilus mentiens (aka, Caladenia mentiens) on Tourist Road

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


Mummaroo said...

Beautiful Denis! I think one of the reasons that our native wildflowers are not appreciated enough (nor even known about enough) is the fact that they are nearly all small, and lots like this one are really tiny. I think many people walk through the bush 'looking' but not actually 'seeing'. You would certainly have to be focussed on 'seeing' to notice most of the treasures of our amazing bush.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Kay
Yes - my whole purpose about blogging is to help people "see" whats out there.
Other people 'looking' but not actually 'seeing' is the bane of my life.
It is also, on the larger scale, the problem with Government Ministers approving things they do not understand. "Bio-banking" is a theory developed for people just like that.
They classify the bush at macro level, and deem this bit to be equivalent to that bit. But there is no such thing - if it is examined in detail.
Thanks Kay