Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cryptostylis subulata

Native terrestrial orchids are fabulous little creatures, in part because when they're not flowering, they look very insignificant, and then, suddenly, out burst some of the more macabre inflorescences you're likely to encounter.

This is a Cryptostylis subulata (Large Tongue Orchid) growing on the sandstone rock platform next to our house. This afternoon, I looked at it under the microscope. Extraordinary textures, but alas my photography can only begin to convey that.

A close up of the underside of the flower.

(Ruler in millimetres.)

I'm planning on preserving a specimen to add to the Herbarium's collection. Unfortunately, it won't dry too prettily, but perhaps they'll be able to use one of my photos on PlantNET.


Cryptandra said...

Hiu Margaret,

I've also got a microscope and enjoy looking at little thingies with it.

It's always a pleasant surprise when you spot a dainty little orchid out in the bush.

Margaret said...

Hi Melaleuca. Yep, microscopes are great, aren't they? When I was a kid I used to spend hours with a little 600x microscope looking at things I found in ponds. So much life.

This year I bought myself a stereo microscope (20x and 40x) on eBay. Not a particularly expensive one, but it's perfect for plant ID. And I've just bought the last of the four volumes of Flora of NSW, so pottering about with plants is now a total joy.

How are the moving plans going?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic photos Margaret. I've also seen this species this year -- it's a lovely plant!

Margaret said...

Thanks, David!

I checked the garden again this morning, and the orchid flowers are popping up all over the place! I don't know if they're all going to turn out to be the same species. Hope I get others. There are certainly lots of humble orchid-type leaves around. A bit of a lucky dip.

That's one of the exciting things about moving into a new place with a bush garden. You really don't know what's going to appear among the leaf litter--especially when you clear out the weeds.