Friday, 16 September 2011

Let the sunshine in

We have one area where a patch of terrestrial orchids appear each spring, usually about a dozen or so plants, but this year the conditions must have been ideal as we have at least a few dozen. The first year we discovered these orchids we didn't see a flower and wondered why; then the next year we had flowers and were able to identify the orchid as as Slender Sun Orchid Thelymitra pauciflora.
As the botanical name suggests prolific flowering is not one of its strong points; it is one of the Sun Orchid genus which has about 45 species, with around 35+ found in Australia. All the sun orchids like sunny areas in heath and woodlands and the flowers generally need strong spring sunshine for them to open. The Slender Sun Orchid is noted for poor flowering as it requires a very warm sunny day in spring otherwise the flowers stay closed. It is also has quite small flowers without much of the show of  some of the relatives. It is found throughout Australia and New Zealand in the appropriate habitat. Fortunately today we had a weather that was just right and the first of the flowers opened for a photo shoot. More flowers should open over the next few days as we have warm sunny weather forecast. Of course like all orchids the close-up view shows how exquisite they are.

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