Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Tangle Root Orchid - Plectorrhiza tridentata

These photos were taken this morning in Robertson. They are photos of Plectorrhiza tridentata - the "Tangle Root Orchid". This species is not common here, but there are a few places of relatively little disturbance where these plants still "hang on".

That dreadful pun is because they are in a  group of Orchids known as "Twig Epiphytes" which literally attach themselves by their roots to flimsy structure on other plants. In this case it was growing on (hanging from) a large, but dying plant of Cassinia trinerva.

I have posted an album of a number of images which are easily accessed and can be scrolled through quickly,

Here is my clearest photo of the flower.

Plectorrhiza tridentata
The Tangle-root Orchid
Note the spur below (behind) the white labellum.
That is where a "nectary" is located.

Plectorrhiza tridentata
Note the yellow top of the column visible above the white labellum.
Apparently this flower is perfumed
(I cannot detect the perfume myself)
and is pollinated by native bees.

My favourite image - showing the hollow tube
leading to the Nectary
of Plectorrhiza tridentata

And this is why I made that dreadful pun about these few plants "hanging on". That's what they do - quite literally. Hence the name "Twig Epiphytes". The scientific name "Plectorrhiza" means "plaited or twisted roots" - a very apt name.

Plectorrhiza tridentata
hanging from a low and flimsy branch of a Cassinia.


Flabmeister said...

Welcome to the World of puns!

How far off the ground was the flower?


Denis Wilson said...

Around head height, Martin.
An awkward spot, (of course) but as the main shrub is dying I took the opportunity to relocate plant to another live plant, in same area.
It is one of the advantages of this species, that it happily lives low down.
Unlike Thelychiton epiphyticus which likes 60 feet altitude and lots of fresh air and light.