Hyacinth Orchids – Spotted, Rosy and an unusual form

Hyacinth Orchids are so unlike the rest of the wildflowers in these dry forests. They reach up out of the leaf litter or barren roadside gravel in a showy and shocking display of flashy pink. We have two kinds here – the more common Rosy Hyacinth Orchid which is a deep pink with a stripy labellum or lip, and the Spotted Hyacinth Orchid which is white with pink spots. The Spotted one is classified as rare under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, so I like to keep tabs on where they come up each year.

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A Spotted Hyacinth Orchid

On the 15th December I photographed nine Spotted Hyacinth Orchids in Dry Diggings forest. Six of these had the tops bitten off and so were unable to flower. Deer? Hares? Wallabies?

On Boxing Day,  I went for a nice long walk down Woolnoughs Road, Porcupine Ridge, and I came across a number of Hyacinth Orchids – Rosy and Spotted. I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of a Rosy Hyacinth Orchid – here is a photo of one, taken by the sorely missed Russell Best. Note the pink colour, and sometimes it is even deeper and more magenta.

rosy hyacinth by Russell Best

So it was with much surprise that I noted a population of Rosy Hyacinth Orchids that were very pale in colour, but still with those distinctive labellum stripes rather than spots. There were  11 in total, in two groups on either side of the road. In thirteen years of looking at these orchids, I have never seen such a pale form!

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An unusually pale form of the Hyacinth Orchid

In the near future,  I will have lovely feedback between this blog and the Nature Share site – so that you can check through all my photos and see the locations, and I will contribute to a wonderful body of knowledge.  And it is amazing! Check it out here: Nature Share

In the meantime: 26 December, 2015, Wooloughs Rd: 26 Spotted Hyacinth Orchid – Dipodium pardalinum, 11 pale Rosy Hyacinth Orchid, plus 4 normal – so 15 Rosy Hyacinth Orchids, or Dipodium roseum.  Lovely! A bumper year, despite the dry conditions…

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