TERRESTRIAL ORCHIDS - Part three
 
THELYMITRA RUBRA                                       Orchidaceae
Pink sun-orchid
Thelymitra rubra
              Photo: Vanessa Elwell-Gavins

A pink flower with the tip of the column coloured yellow and with yellow side lobes covered by blunt teeth.  All petals and sepals about equal in size and shape. The flowering stem has kinks where the bracts join the stem and up to four flowers with one or two ready to open.

Widespread and common in woodlands and heathlands.
Flowering - late Spring.
Related species:  T. flexuosa (twisted sun-orchid) and the pink flowered T. carnea.


CALOCHILUS PLATYCHILA                                
Orchidaceae 
Purple beard-orchid

Calochilus platychila
                 Photo: Vanessa Elwell-Gavins

Flowers are in a spike, the labellum has purple glands at the base and is densely bearded with purple hairs towards the tip.  The leaf is folded and often stout and thickened.  Flower spikes can have up to 10 flowers, but often fewer, and rarely more than one or two open at a time.  Flowers remain partially closed on cool days, and open more widely when it is warm.  The petals and sepals are greenish and have a few dark veins.
C. platychila is fairly common throughout lowlands, often in drier situations and sometimes in newly established gardens.
Flowering Spring to early Summer.
Related species:  C. herbaceus and paludosus



GASTRODIA PROCERA                                              Orchidaceae
Tall potato-orchid

Gastrodia procera
                  Photo: Vanessa Elwell-Gavins

A robust spike of crowded tubular flowers on a leafless stem which may be up to 1 m. tall with 20 or more flowers.
Plants are saprophytes usually with a dark-brown stem. They often occur in loose colonies.  The flowers have petals and sepals in a small white or cream fan at the end of a pale brown tube.  Flower stems arise from a large underground tuber which gives rise to the common name.  It is reported that the tuber formed an important part of the diet of Tasmanian aboriginals, but the taste is said to be insipid.
Widespread but not common. Usually found in tall wet forest often in open situations.
Flowering early summer.

G. sesamoides is a smaller plant with a slender stem and fewer flowers. The top of the stem is distinctly bent when the plant is in bud.  It is typically found in drier situations than G. procera.


PART ONE              PART TWO             PART THREE

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