Western Australia has the Christmas Spider Orchid (Caladenia serotina) and the Christmas Leek Orchid (Prasophyllum brownie) whilst in the rainforest of the eastern seaboard is the Christmas Orchid (Calanthe triplicata).
In the disc South Australia’s Native Orchids, 2011, no orchid has the common name of Christmas Orchid but there are several listed that could be a possible candidate. The ones that springs to mind are from the genus Dipodium. In South Australia, there are four species flowering at this time:
- D. campanulatum (Bell Hyacinth Orchid)
- D. punctatum (Dark Spotted Hyacinth Orchid),
- D. roseum (Common Hyacinth Orchid)
- D. pardalinum (Small Spotted Hyacinth Orchid)
All four are in flower now – D. campanulatum and D. punctatum in the South East and D. roseum and D. pardalinum in the Southern Lofty Ranges.
There have been other orchids which would have flowered over the Christmas period but in recent days we are have been having an increasing number of dry year, especially this year (2015) which has resulted in the orchids flowering earlier. For example, Prasophyllum murfetii
finished flowering in November instead of December and Thelymitra circumsepta
finished flowering in early December but has been seen in flower soon after Christmas Day.
So does South Australia have a Christmas Orchid? Until 1991, D. roseum was included under D. punctatum and the common name according to Bates and Weber 1990 was Christmas Orchid. It seems a pity that when the split was made that neither species retained the common name but nevertheless as they both flower at Christmas, we do have a Christmas Orchid or two!
Bates R J, Ed, 2011 South Australia’s Native Orchids, NOSSA
Bates R J & Weber J Z, 1990 Orchids of South Australia