Tuesday, 5 August 2008

#52 A couple of winter Greenhoods

The Superb Greenhood really is a beauty. This was my first sighting, but I knew exactly what it was when I spotted it amongst the pine needles in the Watagans State Forest on the southern rim of the Hunter Valley in late July. I found only a single specimen.

Diplodium grandiflora - Superb (or Cobra) Greenhood

Diplodium grandiflora, formerly known as Pterostylis grandiflora, is commonly known as the Superb or Cobra Greenhood. Its flowering period is from May to July.

The habitat of the Superb Greenhood is amongst undergrowth on sandy soil in cool moist gullies. I found my specimen on a shaded grassy mound on the edge of a grove of introduced conifers.

It is a slender plant 15 to 25 cm high with two forms of leaves (ref: Native Plants of the Sydney District by Alan Fairley and Philip Moore). The stem-clasping (cauline) leaves are about 5 cm long and taper to an acute apex from a broad base, while a separate rosette of leaves is often absent at flowering time.

The lower sepals are erect, united in the lower third then abruptly contracting at the broad flat sinus (mouth of the flower) to 2 long points which extend high above the galea (top of the flower).

Back view of the lateral sepals

Stem-clasping leaves of the Cobra or Superb Greenhood

The Midget Greenhood (pictured below) was a great find in winter and spring of 2007 in Werakata National Park near Cessnock in the Hunter Valley. Its flowering period is July to October.

Hymenochilus muticus, Midget Greenhood, was formerly known as Pterostylis muticus. Its habitat is fairly dry open country. All my sightings were in small open patches amongst low scrub.

This orchid species varies from short and robust to about 30 cm tall and rather slender. It has small ovate to lanceolate leaves which are sometimes numerous in a basal rosette. It also has 3 to 8 closely sheathing stem bracts and a similar number of very small pale-green flowers in a spike-like raceme.

Midget Greenhood

The sepals are short and broad and joined for most of their length. They point downward exposing the short irritable labellum which has a thick dark basal appendage turned backwards.

The centre flower has the dark appendage exposed

Rosette of leaves of the Midget Greenhood

Although I haven't done much orchid hunting this year, I hope to get out and discover some more spring-flowering orchids as the warmer months approach.

More of my Greenhood Orchid posts


Mosura said...

What a great fund and superbly photographed too.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye
Glad you got yourself the Cobra Greenhood. It is instantly recognisable, isn't it?
The Midget Greenhood is a very nice find. I have never seen that one.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Gaye,
Beaut entry. Very informative, and great images. Nice work.

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Mosura, Denis and Gouldiae,

thank you all. These were both exciting finds for me. I remember finding the leaves of the Midget Greenhood and not knowing which Greenhood it would be. I marked the surrounding bushes with some tape and came back periodically to see them flowering.

I'd like to get back and see them again this year. The shrubbery surrounding them was regenerating (in a powerline easement), so it will be interesting to see if they do as well with the vegetaion enclosing, or not.


David said...

Hi Gaye,

Very nice pics of the greenhoods....especially the cobra.
Ive moved a fair way down the coast and am not sure of we have them here. I will have to get out for a look.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi David,

apologies for the delay in posting and responding to your comment - I have been away from home for a month.

So, you've left the Highlands! When I have settled back into my home routine I will catch up on the nature blogs and check out your new location.