The first competition for the year followed a wet orchid theme with three of the orchids being South Australian swamp orchids and the fourth from Western Australia; though not a swamp dweller, it grows in shallow moist soil.
The outstanding winner was Claire Chesson’s Cryptostylis subulata, followed by Robert Lawrence’s Spiranthes alticola, Rosalie Lawrence’s Pterostylis falcata and Pauline Meyer’s Thelymitra villosa.
Known to South Australian’s as the Moose Orchid, elsewhere it is either Large Tongue Orchid or Cow Orchid. This tall (40 to 110 cms) evergreen orchid is common in the eastern states where it is commonly found in damp areas as well as swamps. but in South Australia it is limited to swamps and is rated as endangered.
Leo Davis makes some interesting observations about the structure of this flower in his article Upside Upside Down which is well worth reading (https://nossa.org.au/2017/03/03/upside-upsisdedown/).
Whilst not an easy orchid to grow it has been cultivated although seed set has not always occurred. Helen Richards, an experienced Victorian terrestrial orchid grower, shared in an email how she grows them.
“Cryptostylis species grow from brittle rhizomes which can be quite long and they resent frequent disturbance. Mine are potted into a pot therefore that is large enough for the long roots and which will accommodate further growth for several years. My mix is ANOS basic mix, the same as I use for Pterostylis and many other genera. They need to be kept moist all year round, especially in summer when they flower and new leaves appear, their active growing period. I grow them in an area of moderate light. Others have seen pollinators active on the flowers but I haven’t. However seed capsules frequently develop without my assistance with a toothpick. Richard Thomson says they haven’t had success germinating the seed.”
Personal communications Helen Richards (OAM), Chairman Australian Orchid Foundation
Bates, R. J., ed. (2011). South Australian Native Orchids. Electronic version, 2011. NOSSA
The other entries :