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.
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.
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.
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.