Tag: Dipodium pardalinum
Waiting for the rain …
Last year we waited for the rain. The rain heralds the start of the orchid season. Last year the season was dry, very dry. It was below average and it was hot.
So how did the orchids fare in the Adelaide Hills? The start of the season was slow with our first field trip not being until May 26 because of the lack of rain.
At the time, the smallness of the plants was noticeable with one specimen of flowering Leporella fimbriata standing no more than 2 cms. Normally the flower stem can be up to 25 cms tall. This trend of smaller plants continued throughout the year.
The following two photographs show the difference in size.
And on January 28, we came across the smallest flowering Dipodium pardalinum that we’d ever seen. Normally, this genus can grow up to about 100 cms in height but this one barely reached above the height of Robert’s shoe, ie, about 10 cms. True this was an exception but overall there not many plants, and even they were spindly and small in comparisons with previous years.
Below are two photographs illustrating the size difference
So what is the outlook for orchids for 2019? That will depend upon the rains.
When does the orchid season get going? Again that depends upon the rain but expect to see the autumn orchids about six to eight weeks after a good rain episode.
So we wait for the rains ….
Notes on Dipodium pardalinum at Silverton
A site, along Rarkang Rd, Silverton, leading into Talisker Conservation Park, was visited on December 29, 2012, January 2, 2014, January 16, 2015 and January 9, 2017.
In the earlier years about 20 specimens of Dipodium pardalinum were found with 18 (plus 3 beheaded) in 2015. A small number of D. roseum was located in 2012, none in 2014, one in 2015 and none at all in 2017.
In 2017 there was bumper crop of D. pardalinum and Ed Lowrey, Helen McKerral and I counted 124 flower spikes. This may represent only 122 plants because in two instances there were two spikes emerging from one tuber (see image). It is possible that other closely placed flowers were also growing from a single tuber. This same phenomenon was observed in two cases, with D. roseum, at Hender Reserve, Stirling, on January 12 this year.
All spikes of D. pardalinum this year were found on the verges of Rarkang Road or nearby inside private property in small holdings, with houses, adjoining the road, apart from two spikes only, just inside the Talisker Conservation Park, where Rarkang Road heads into it.
The genus Dipodium is much more varied than I realised. Our DVD, South Australia’s Native Orchids, only deals with the ‘leafless saprophytes, mycophytes or hemiparasites’. If you go to ‘Native Orchids of Australia’ (Jones, 2006), you will find that among the terrestrial species there are both leafless species (as with the local D. pardalinum and D. roseum), that are impossible to cultivate and one species with leaves (D. ensifolium), found from Cooktown to Ingham, in Qld. It is easy to grow in a pot. Bob Bates told me that it is grown here in Adelaide, preferring a heated glass house, but has been grown successfully in gardens. And then there is a leaved species, D. pandanum, of limited distribution in Qld, that can be either terrestrial or epiphytic, growing up to 5 m in length. Old pieces that break off and fall to the ground, nestle in the leaf litter and put out new shoots that eventually climb into the trees. It is easy to grow in a pot (in the right climate).
Rarkang Rd, Silverton, Jan 9, 2017.
|Two spikes of Dipodium pardalinum emerging from one tuber.
Rarkang Rd, Silverton, Jan 9, 2017.
|A clump of Dipodum pardalinum spikes with at least two emerging from one tuber; see photo above.
Rarkang Rd, Silverton, Jan 9, 2017.
Dipodium pardalinum (labellum white with dark pink spots) growing intertwined with D. roseum, (labellum pale pink with dark pink stripes).
Rarkang Rd, Silverton, Dec 29, 2012.
Does South Australia Have a Christmas Orchid?
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
‘Tis the Season … for Dipodium
For many with Christmas and New Year holidays it is a busy time but not so with the orchids here in the Adelaide region. The vast majority of orchids have finished flowering for the year except for a few including one of our most showy orchids, the Hyacinth Orchids (Dipodium species). Of the four species found in South Australia, two are found in Adelaide Hills – D. roseum or Common Hyacinth Orchid and D. pardalinum or Small-spotted Hyacinth Orchid and these will be flowering across the whole of the summer period.
Both of these Dipodium species are leafless plants that are dependent upon mycorrhizal fungi associated with stringy bark trees, either Eucalyptus obliqua or E. baxteri. This growth requirement makes it impossible to grow in cultivation. (Stringy bark trees can’t be grown in pots!) The emerging stem and buds resemble an asparagus shoot. The stems can range from a light green through to a deep dark red. At this stage it is difficult to tell the two species apart although if there are yellowing tips on white buds it may be a clue that the plant could be D. pardalinum.
Once in flower D. roseum has a surprising range of variation from carmine (a lightly purplish deep red) through to pink to white, with suffused rather than clearly defined spots. On paler or white flowers these blotches may appear pale mauve-pink rather than candy-pink. It always has a distinctive striped labellum.
This feature sets it apart from D. pardalinum which has a clearly spotted labellum and in contrast to D. roseum, the flowers lack variation of colour but are consistently white with small well-defined candy spots. (There are other Dipodium species with larger spots.)
And the final word, D. roseum is common but D. pardalinum is rated vulnerable in South Australia.
Reference: South Australia’s Native Orchids Bates 2011