19 July 2008

Flying Duck Orchid - Paracaleana nigrita

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Flying Duck Orchid - Paracaleana nigrita

Found as scattered plants in flat to gently sloping sandy soil with possible deep seepage, often in company with early flowering Drakaea glyptodon, King-in-his-carriage Hammer Orchid. It is not found on dry sandy hillocks.

Easy to identify from other Duck Orchids by the dark calli which covers most of the humped labellum. It flowers from August (usually late) to October.

Duck Orchids like several other orchid species, use pheromones to trick male Thynnid wasps to mate with the calli on their labellum, but when it lands it triggers the labellum flicking it downwards and propelling the wasp into the stigma and anthers. This process deposits pollen on the back of the wasp, which is later transferred to other duck orchids when it attempts to mate again, so performing cross-pollination.

Update 11/10/08
Photos of the distinctive ovate leaf (10-20 mm, or 3/8-3/4" long) added.