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
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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