Small Tongue-orchid Cryptostylis leptochila

Knowing that mid summer is not a good time for Australian flowers (and plants in general) I visited Baluk Willam Flora Reserve in February 2003, not expecting anything much. With that attitude you are always pleasantly surprised when something does show up. This is one of only a few mid-summer flowering Australian terrestrial orchid species.

Returning in late January 2004 I expected them however I was surprised once more by their profusion. They were more widespread than I had expected and also flowering a little earlier. My reference also suggests they reach a mere 40cm but I found many to 50cm and measured one at 69cm high.

There was a bit of variation in coloring, some had green stalks and their labellum contained a lot of green while other had purple stalks and completely red labellums.

I have also found them in Doongalla Forest (part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park) in January 2004.

Flowering Time Flower Numbers Maximum Height Flower Size
Summer
Mid January to mid March
6-15 off a single stalk 69cm ~20mm long
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Three Tongue-orchids
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Cryptostylis leptochila #5
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