Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marsh Greenhood - Speculantha uliginosa

This is another "new" species for me - the tiny Marsh Greenhood. It is in the "Tiny Greenhoods" group, known as the "parviflora group". Its official name is Speculantha uliginosa. This plant is not rated as rare, but it is seldom seen, mostly because of the kind of habitat it prefers, which are mostly wet Tea Tree and Melaleuca thickets.

These plants were not growing within the Tea Tree thicket, which is close by. But as we all know, Orchid seeds are so fine, the seeds can easily be blown.

These plants were unusually small, even for members of the "parviflora group". You can tell that by the way Alan is shielding the flowers with his hand as he lines up his photos. You cannot make out the flowers, but the position of Alan's hand tells you what you need to know. They do not protrude above the side of his hand, with the edge of his hand resting on the ground. By comparison, my own hand measures 90 mm across.

Alan Stephenson photographing these
Speculantha uliginosa plants
Speculantha uliginosa - portrait
These plants were barely 90 mm high, and one had two flowers, and the other had three flowers. They both had a well developed rosette at flowering time. That characteristic distinguishes them from the local brownish members of the "parviflora group", down along Tourist Road, and the classic green forms of Speculantha parviflora. Those plants flower straight out of the ground, without a rosette, and then a rosette forms later on. They both regularly grow to 200 mm high and often have 5 or 6 flowers per stem.
Speculantha uliginosa from the side.
It shows it does not have the sharply protruding sinus
which is a feature of the Speculantha parviflora plant.

Speculantha uliginosa
with the flower pushed backwards,
you can just see the labellum.
The sinus has a very narrow notch
The edge of the sinus is gently rolled.

These plants had fully formed rosettes of leaves at flowering time. There were also 7 non-flowering plants in this group, some with minute rosettes. Those were clearly immature plants.
Rosette of Speculantha uliginosa
with a 10 cent coin for scale.
That coin is 23.3mm in diameter.
That shows how tiny these fully mature rosettes are.

Speculantha uliginosa
One mature flower (showing a creamy colour)
and a fresh flower on top.
These plants have small "points" or "ears"
which barely reach the top of the hood.
These plants all have prominent stem leaves
and one bract below each flower.


AnnaV said...

I'm impressed by the output of observations and information you manage. I live in the Bathurst region on property that has a vast array of native flora, many of which you see in the Robertson district. I'm gradually putting up my photos on flikr and would love any help from bloggers with correct identification.
Anna Vervoorn

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Anna
Feel free to contact me via email, to help with any puzzling IDs.
There will be many similarities in your flora and flora and mine.
peonyden (at) gmail (dot) com.
Happy to help as best I can.
Beyond my own general knowledge, I can help refer you to various experts in their fields.