Posts tagged with pollination

A blue fairy, pink candy, a crab-lipped spider, several donkeys and a flying duck.

  • Lilac sun orchid (Thelymitra cornicina), Maringup. Photo: Leon Perrie.
  • Slender hammer orchid (Drakaea gracilis), Albany. Photo: Lara Shepherd.
  • Tall leek orchid (Prasophyllum elatum), Balingup. Photo: Leon Perrie.
  • Flying duck orchid (Paracaleana nigrita), Maringup. Photo: Leon Perrie.

Not only do south-western Australian orchids have imaginative common names but their flowers are arguably some of the most stunning in this biodiversity hotspot. The flowers of the 320 or so species have a wide range of colours and shapes. Many orchids don’t produce nectar to attract insects to spread their pollen, instead using deception… Read more »

Creating a buzz

Flies, possibly including Helophilus and Calliphora, swarming on the flowers of Aupouri coastal five-finger. (c) Leon Perrie

I was recently surprised to find my plant of Aupouri coastal five-finger (Pseudopanax lessonii) swarming with flies. The flies were attracted to the flowers presumably by a feed of nectar on what was a hot, summer day. I could see at least three fly species, plus a bumblebee. Pollination is not a role we often… Read more »

Does every spider orchid in New Zealand have its fungus gnat?

Flowers of the native Spider orchid Nematoceras trilobum.

Te Papa’s Curator of Botany, Carlos Lehnebach, has just been awarded a Marsden Fast-Start grant for three years to answer this intriguing question. Spider Orchids are a group of terrestrial orchids that are usually found on forest floors and road banks. Their flowers are small and dull in colour, and it has been suggested that… Read more »