Hammers and ducks

These king-in-a-carriage orchids reminded me of a pair of dancing Brolgas. Ok bird experts, perhaps not brolgas, though the photo certainly has an “Awwww” feel about it.  This post is a pictorial of hammer and duck orchids, some were found in the Stirling Ranges while most came from a secret little location south of Mount Barker.

Hammer heads

I found an area with three different species of hammer orchids and spent the afternoon taking many pictures, the variety in the “heads” labellums were amazing and after putting together this little collage I went back to the same place a couple of days later for some more photos on a rainy day.

Wet hammer


Wet warty hammer


Wet Narrow lipped hammer perhaps


Very pregnant. Can you call it pregnant in the plant world?





OK, aside from my silly captions, I’ve talked about this before but did you know that these orchids release a pheromone that attracts particular wasp species. Along comes some poor unsuspecting male wasp sniffing the scent of lady wasp on the air and he spots a decidedly attractive looking warty hairy labellum, which for him looks and smells exactly like a potential lady friend. In this wasp world the standard maneuver for a man wasp is to fly over and quite literally pick up his new lady friend and fly away with her.


As he tries to fly away, the evil inter-kingdom transvestite flicks the poor wasp backwards against the plants naughty bits, causing a potential pollination.  The confused male wasp then flies off looking for his next potential wife wasp. This high-rise group of orchids are mostly in the flicked back position.





Wet n pregnant

Another inter-kingdom transvestite orchid is the aptly named Flying Duck.


Again it releases pheromones and disguises itself to look very much like a lovely lady wasp. Man wasp flies in to “ask her out for a coffee” before being flipped in underneath potentially pollinating the flower.

Wet duck


Dry duck


Flock of ducks


Back to hammers


Wet hammer


Pair of hammers


Tiny spider


Last hammers


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  • Reply Tamara September 25, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    Clever deceitful little plants….. amazing to think that those thin little “necks” can flick and release multiple times being they are so damned delicate. Kind of makes me want to investigate the unspecting males wasp is to see the similarities, they are obviously teeny tinny too!

    • Reply joel September 25, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      Yeah freaky things, if you zoom in on a couple of the pics you can see that there’s quite a tough looking little hinge joint. They say that the female wasps which fertilise the hammers, don’t actually fly. Weird.. Hopefully I’ll see one of these things one day..

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