Saturday, 10 September 2011

Bootlace orchid

I don't know about bootlaces, but this orchid certainly has a wiry stem and is notable for its climbing habit.

It is a reasonably common orchid and we have quite a few that are now in bud, but this is the first flower that I have seen open this season. The Bootlace Orchid Erythrorchis cassythoides is a leafless terrestrial orchid, found in open forest areas through Queensland and NSW to just south of Sydney.

The  subterranean rhizomes feed on the decayed bark and leaf litter at the base of the tree (in this instance a Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata) and the stem(s) climbs the trunk with the aid of short clasping roots. This example had climbed to about 3m up the tree, but I have seen ones climb over 6m before setting their flower clusters.

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