This month’s winner photographed by Pauline Meyers was a spider hybrid identified by Bob Bates as Arachnorchis brumalis x A conferta.
Orchids are an interesting group concerning identification. Some are extremely easy to identify but others specifically the sun orchids, but also the spider orchids, can be difficult to identify partly due to the ease with which they are able to hybridise.
A frequent hybrid occurrence across Australia (see map for Arachnorchis distribution) is the pairing of the green comb spider orchids of the A dilatata complex with the white spider orchid of the A patersonii complex as seen in this picture. A brumalis belongs to the A patersonii complex and A conferta to the green comb orchid.
Hybrids will be variable but obviously they will have characteristics of both parents. By looking at the two parents it can be seen that this picture of Pauline’s contains features of both. From the A conferta parent, the inherited features are the wide labellum of the green comb, thickened calli and the red on the segments whilst the long thin segments, glandular tips (osmophores) long and thin, not clubbed are from the A conferta.
I would like to thank Bob Bates for his helpful comments with writing this article and also Colin for his helpful website www.RetiredAussie.com with its many images of both A conferta and A brumalis which enabled me to view both species at the same time making it much easier to see the characteristics of both parents within the hybrid
Reference for the map.
Australian Orchid Genera: an information and identification system
Electronic series: ABRS Identification Series
Publishers: Australian Biological Resources Study/CSIRO Publishing
Authors: D.L.Jones, T.Hopley, S.M.Duffy, K.J.Richards, M.A.Clements, X.Zhang
ISBN-10: 0 643 09336 2
ISBN-13: 978 0 643 09336 2
Although originally from the disk quoted above, the map was accessed from this site