Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Which flower is this? (24)

This week’s flower is also an orchid (family ORCHIDACEAE).

You may remember that I said (here) that the leaves of orchids have parallel veins, like grasses. The leaves of this one are less grass-shaped and more leaf shaped, and they are almost succulent in texture. Interesting.  Notice also how the petals are twisted! Notice also how five are similar in shape, but the one at the bottom is different, like a platform.

Now, remember that orchids have six petals. Three ‘true’ petals and three that technically are the bracts or sepals, but look just like petals. For this reason, orchid flowers will not have the small leaves on their underside that usually ‘cup’ flowers, as you can see below. 

Orchids do not have typical reproductive parts. Here is a close-up.

We cannot see typical style or stigma and we cannot see stamen. What can we see?  Tim helpfully commented on this post (which I thought was an orchid but was not) that,
"What makes an orchid an orchid. It's the worlds biggest group of plants and there is incredible diversity between the various genus. However what they all have in common is their reproductive parts. They have what is called a 'column' which are fused male and female parts."
We can see this column, the lump-like thing, there at the back of the lower petal.  Can you see the grooves on the lower petal? I think these must direct insects into the middle of the flower to the column in order to facilitate pollination.

There are many, many different species of orchid, more than any other kind of flower. I have no idea what type of orchid this is (genus or species). Do you?


Prue said...

My best guess is that the genus of this is a Dendrobium orchid.

Prue said...

Sorry, that was an appalling sentence. I think it's genus is Dendrobium.