This week's flower is a gorgeous, small and dainty flower growing outside Mama Linda's house. It think it is an orchid, but I'm not sure, it doesn't seem to fit the descriptions (see the wikipedia article on orchids here).
I only took these photographs yesterday and as I took them I became more and more fascinated by these little flowers. They grow on a spike, as can be seen in this photo:
There are five petals. The petal at the base is modified so that it forms something like a basin or bowl. It has a small column at the front of this bowl, divided at the top. What is this bowl for? What is the column for? Something to do with pollination? Does it mimic the reproductive parts? The petals also seem to be fused, forming a hollow.
The stamen and style (the reproductive parts) are on the inside of this 'hollow', just at the top. I expect this means the pollen brushes off on insects that wander in and out of the hollow.
However, in the photo below, you can see the stamen (the anthers) but not the style. I think this is at a less mature stage than the previous photo. This would mean that the male reproductive parts (the stamen) mature first and the female part matures afterwards. This would prevent self-pollination. The insects might pick up pollen from these anthers but they couldn't leave it on this flower's stigma, because it isn't there yet. If you look again at the previous photo you will notice that the anthers look quite degraded.
Again, I am interested to know what this flower is. Any help much appreciated. Amy? Prue?