Dendrobium teretifolium, the Thin Pencil Orchid, Rat’s Tail Orchid or Bridal Veil Orchid grows almost exclusively on Casuarina glauca, our dominant local casuarina. With prolific flowers in July and August the orchid is rather spectacular, and fragrant!
We gathered our courage, only necessary because of ticks, and walked deep into the bush along Mullimburra ICOLL, to the particular kind of water-meadow landscape where the orchids grow. There were many hundreds of plants, most flowering, but masses of young ones too.
In the photo above you can see the long seed pods hanging down below the flowering stalk. These pods give rise to the names Pencil Orchid, or Rats Tail Orchid. Can you also see the bright green plant covering the forest floor here? It looks like a cress, but I really don’t know what it is, and it only grows here along the edge of the creek.
Don’t you love the little curled petals? I tried to get a better close-up but the light was not with me, and a very tall tripod would have helped!
This giant old tree has fallen over, creating a perfect habitat for the lichen and young orchid plants. Perhaps these will be flowering next year? We had about six ticks each, unavoidable despite precautions … inevitable as soon as we leave wide well-used tracks. It was worth it! While I was there I had to photograph the staghorn ferns that grow so luxuriantly …. sometimes becoming so large that they pull the big casuarinas over. One clump we know well is as large as a small car!