Small Waxlip Orchid image p9170411 79KB
Orchids
of the Sydney Region
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Small Waxlip Orchid

There are about 1,000 species of Orchids in Australia and as many as 35,000 species worldwide - making it the largest flower family.

There is only one commercial substance produced from Orchids - vanilla - which is produced from the fruit pod of Vanilla planifolia.

Although Orchids vary greatly in form, colour and size, their flowers are composed of 6 segments. The outer 3 segments are the sepals; and inner three segments are the petals. The third petal becoming a lip or labellum.

Although the sepals and two of the petals vary greatly across the orchid family, it is the third petal (the labellum) and the column that achieve fascinating, and at times bizarre shapes, sizes and colours.

Insects being the principal pollinators of orchids, often use the labellum as a landing place.

A seedpod may contain more than 2 million seeds.

The Small Waxlip Orchid (Glossodia minor) kindly consented to be used as a model for this botany lesson. The photos above were taken in the Lane Cove National Park.

An index to the orchid images included below.
Cooper Beard Orchid
Dusky Fingers
Hooded Orchid
Golden Donkey Orchid
Large Duck Orchid
Large Tongue Orchid
Native Potato
Nodding Greenhood
Pink Fingers
Pixie Orchid
Purplish Beard Orchid
Rosy Hyacinth Orchid
Sharp Greenhood
Slender Sun Orchid
Small Waxlip Orchid
Splotched Hyacinth Orchid
Spotted Sun Orchid
Tall Greenhood
Tall Leek Orchid
Tiger Orchid
White Fingers

This web page contains orchids from the greater Sydney area. Please take a look at the Western Australian Orchids web page.

Spotted Sun Orchid image p9180132 86KB Spotted Sun Orchid image p9030502 64KB

The Spotted Sun Orchid (Thelymitra ixioides var. ixioides), also known as the Blue Sun Orchid has dark blue dots on its upper three segments.

The flower is 25mm wide, but needs a sunny day to open.

It is best identified by the finger like papillae as not all Spotted Sun Orchids have spots as this image shows.

They also have a hint of vanilla when smelt.

The photos of the Spotted Sun Orchid were taken in Lane Cove National Park.



the Caladenia genus (Fairy Orchids, Lady's Fingers and Spider Orchids)
NSW Flora Online says that Caladenia carnea "hybridizes with C. catenata and C. fuscata,
so larger populations may incorporate confusing hybrid swarms."

just what the amateur botanist wants to hear ...
As far as I can ascertain -
  • C. carnea's labellum lobe doesn't protrude, its labellum tip is yellow and it tends to be pinker.
  • C. fuscata's labellum lobe protrudes and its labellum tip is white, and it is smaller.
  • C. catenata's labellum is far more vertical before it slopes forward.
Pink Fingers image pa070067
Pink Fingers
Caladenia carnea
A small orchid that is 20-30mm across whose colour varies from near white to dark pink.
Here is an image showing its distinguishing characteristics.
Pixie Fingers image p9130064
Dusky Fingers
Caladenia fuscata
Flowering in early Spring, Dusky Fingers' sepals and petals are less than 7mm long.
Here is an image showing its distinguishing characteristics.
White Fingers image p8F038
White Fingers
Caladenia catenata
This attractive orchid is 25mm wide and flowers in winter and early spring.


Golden Donkey Orchid pa010129 70KB
Golden Donkey Orchid
(Diuris aurea)
Donkey Orchids are easily recognised by their donkey ear-like petals with two leg-like sepals below. (Lane Cove National Park)
Tiger Orchid image pa100164 86KB
Tiger Orchid
Diuris sulphurea
This spring flowering Donkey Orchid is 30mm from the top of its petals to the bottom of its sepals. A key in its identification is the lack of a callus on its labellum. (Lane Cove National Park)
Large Duck Orchid pb260428 58KB
Large Duck Orchid
(Caleana major)
Resembling a duck in flight, with its sepals for wings, its labellum as its head and its column for a body. This small orchid's labellum snaps shut against the column trapping the visiting insect and turning it into a pollinator. (upper Blue Mountains)
Nodding Greenhood image p8F149 71KB
Nodding Greenhood
Pterostylis nutans
Flowering in winter, this translucent green orchid stays "drooped". The flower is 20mm long.
(Lane Cove National Park)
Tall Greenhood image p7220178 88KB
Tall Greenhood
Pterostylis longifolia
Characterised by its long leaves and the multiple flowers on each stem.
(Lane Cove National Park)
Sharp Greenhood image p4210298 52KB
Sharp Greenhood
Pterostylis acuminata
Also known as the Pointed Greenhood after its pointed labellum. It flowers in Autumn with a single flower at the end of each stem - the stem has a rosette of leaves at its base.
(Lane Cove National Park)
Splotched Hyacinth Orchid image pc250108 82KB
Splotched Hyacinth Orchid
Dipodium variegatum
Summer flowering, its green stem and dotted ovary differentiates it from the other Hyacinth Orchids found in the Sydney Region - D. punctatum and D. roseum. (Lane Cove National Park)
Rosy Hyacinth Orchid image pc150222 91KB
Rosy Hyacinth Orchid
Dipodium roseum
Identified by its purple stem, curled back segment tips and lines on its labellum.
Its ovary is striped. The orchid is 30mm across. (Lane Cove National Park)
Slender Sun Orchid image pb010613 66KB
Slender Sun Orchid
Thelymitra pauciflora
A small orchid about 12mm wide. Its petal-like labellum is narrower than the other petals & sepals. (upper Blue Mountains)
Tall Leek Orchid image pa100249 76KB
Tall Leek Orchid
Prasophyllum elatum
Also known as the Piano Orchid, this orchid occurs in all other Australian States except the North Territory. Its long leaf stem can be seen in the background. (upper Blue Mountains)
Large Tongue Orchid pc290382 79KB
Large Tongue Orchid
Cryptostylis subulata
Also known as the Duck Orchid due to is bill or tongue like labellum - which is around 30mm in length. The sepals and other petals are small and spike like. (upper Blue Mountains)
Hooded Orchid image pb200179 81KB
Hooded Orchid
Cryptostylis erecta
This orchid is all labellum. The other petals and the sepals looking more like leaves. It is also known as the Bonnet Orchid and the Tartan Tongue Orchid. (Lane Cove National Park)
Copper Beard Orchid image pa200041 81KB
Copper Beard Orchid
Calochilus campestris
Spring flowering, the Copper Beard Orchid is identified by the two blue plates on its labellum. (Lane Cove National Park)
Purplish Beard Orchid image pa070137 81KB
Purplish Beard Orchid
Calochilus robertsonii
Spring flowering, its thick beard at the top of the labellum differentiates it from the other Beard Orchids. (Lane Cove National Park)
Pixie Orchid image p6230144 61KB
Pixie Orchid
Acianthus fornicatus
A tiny orchid well hidden by is mute colours and shady locations. Also known as Pixie Caps, its basal leaf helps locate and identify it. (Lane Cove National Park)
Native Potato image pc070004 75KB
Native Potato
Gastrodia sesamoides
On first appearance it looks like a withered orchid - but its light brown flowers and stems are its natural colours. Also known as Cinnamon Bells. (upper Blue Mountains)
Small Waxlip Orchid image p8190083 57KB
Small Waxlip Orchid
Glossodia minor
A small orchid that is 20mm wide. The flower stem is leafless - the leaf leaving the stem near the ground. (Lane Cove National Park)


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