Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Hyancinth Orchid rides again

Each year that we have lived here a Rosy Hyacinth Orchid (Dipodium roseum) has reared its flowers in the paddock outside my study window.  This year is no exception and four flower stems have appeared.
 I have put some chook wire around them as some protection.  In case you wonder "Proection from what?" note the pile of wombat poop below the stems!  The plant is leafless, getting its nutrients through a symbiotic relationship involving the orchid, a saprophytic fungus and a nearby Eucalyptus mannifera.  (Thank you authors of A Field Guide to the Orchids of the ACT.)
 Zooming in closer I noticed the ants crawling around the flowers.  Presumably this is getting ready to do some pollination when the flowers open.
A day later and at least one flower was fully open.  The faint red spots can (just) be seen.
The spots are more visible in this close-up.

By Boxing Day more flowers were out::

As a footnote to this post, on 31 December we visited the 6Mile TSR (between Bungendore and Hoskinstown) and found many of this species.  Under one tree (Eucalyptus mannifera I think)  I counted34 flower spikes, some approaching 1m high.

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