Orchid – Dipodium

Orchids are flowering lately … here’s one courtesy of the mountain behind our place.

Dipodium orchid; photo by Heather Fraser

I didn’t see the orchid myself, but according to PlantNet there are five pink Dipodium species in New South Wales. The distribution maps don’t point to a definitive answer, so I’ll leave it as Dipodium species for now. Thanks to Heather, Jacki and Amanda for tracking this one down, leeches, stinging trees and all!

Update: Another person I asked for help with ID says:

It is hard to decide exactly which one it is from your photos. Maybe when you take photos, try and get details of the reproductive bits, and with any flowers or seeds visible get in nice and close so you can see clearly distinquishing features, e.g. with your species there is obviously a recurved tip to the petal ends and this is a good indicator for you as the Dipodiums are either recurved there, or not at all or just slightly and the spotting patterns is also important. If you can get another good look at it in real life it will help definitive ID, but maybe it is punctatum as the sepals and laterals petals seem only slightly recurved at the tip and the sepals and lateral petals also appear to be cupped. Its habitat also fits “in wet sclerophyll forest to dry sclerophyll woodland, on a variety of soils chiefly on the coast and ranges west to Warrumbungle Ranges”, Harden, Flora of NSW Vol 4. page 238.

An Australian native ground orchid

Brigitte, who lives about 20 minutes’ drive from me at Barker’s Vale,, was kind enough to let me have these photos she took of Epipogium roseum, a native Australian ground orchid, on her property.

Brigitte says there are only three species of Epipogium in the world; Australia has one native one and this is it. Eight came out in the leaf litter at her place. The flowers stayed about one week. They have a short flowering period of about a week and they look a little like fungus from a distance. The measurement guide is 10 cm from start of plant, so gives you an idea of size.

Epipogium roseum 1 Lilifield

Epipogium roseum in leaf litter; photo by Brigitte Stievermann

The next photo shows how the individual flowers are bunched up and uncurl as the orchid grows. It was just one big bunch.

Epipogium roseum 2 Lilifield

The uncurling flowers; photo by Brigitte Stievermann

Epipogium roseum 3 Lilifield

Epipogium roseum, ground orchid, Barker's Vale; photo by Brigitte Stievermann

It has no roots, is sympodial and just comes up from a horizontal fleshy tuber …

Epipogium roseum 4 Lilifield

Photo by Brigitte Stievermann

Many thanks to Brigitte for these photos and for the information.