Saturday, 26 September 2015

Finger orchids

Blue Fingers Cyanicula caerulea - whole plant
The Spring orchids are coming into flower in Canberra and although some can be difficult to find, these finger orchids are obvious. Despite their short stature, only about 10cm tall, and growing singly, these little gems are easy to spot as the forest floor is studded with their flower heads. These flowers were on Black Mountain in the heart of the Australian Capital Territory, only a few kilometres from the city centre. Both species shown here were growing on thin stony soils in the dry forest beneath scribbly gums and red stringybark trees, with sparse leaf and bark litter. Other ground cover was mostly sparse tussocks of wallaby grass.

Blue Fingers Cyanicula caerulea - flower head
The flowers were of three colours, the blue of the blue fingers, and white and pink - two colour varieties of the dusky fingers. All the flowers were fresh and bright so they could not have been long opened. The other species I saw that day was nodding greenhood Pterostylis nutans a tiny flower of a few centres tall that was growing in a compact colony on the steep moist bank of a dry creek. Some of those flowers were fading, while other plants had not yet flowered. The season has been slow to warm up with cold spells, so perhaps that has affected their flowering. To see images of them from an earlier post click here.

Dusky Fingers Petalochilus fuscatus - whole plant
The blue fingers have prostrate single leaves, while the dusky fingers have erect lanceolate leaves as seen in this photograph of the white variety.

Dusky Fingers Petalochilus fuscatus - flower head, white form

Dusky Fingers Petalochilus fuscatus - whole plant, pink form

Dusky Fingers Petalochilus fuscatus - pink flower head

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