There aren’t many orchids around the Ravensthorpe/Esperance area though there are a lot of Sun orchids. I spent 2 days in Helm’s arboretum and saw many thousands of blue sun orchids, now according to the orchid book there are only 9 different species of blue sun orchids in W.A. and perhaps only 2 species which could possibly be where I was, but the variety I found in both colour and form across the arboretum was stunning.
This is a fairly standard Blue sun orchid, well two plants growing side by side, a light blue slightly mauve coloured flower with a classic shape and form. Now lets mix it up a bit, here’s an intense deep blue/purple flower.
Quite a striking colour mix with the blue and purple and I found many like this though the mix of colour varied quite a bit.
Some blue with just the slightest hint of purple in them.
Mostly purple with a slight blue tint to the edges. How about toning it back a little and going for a nice gentle soft pink.
The pinks were beautiful, often the plants were a lot smaller and generally not as many flowers as the more “blue” versions.
How about a lovely shade of mauve?
Notice also the changing forms and shapes of the flowers this one above has fairly elongated petals while the following flower has shorter petals spread so wide they are almost turning back on themselves.
A baby or powder blue.
Mauve again with quite dark pink internal bits of the flower.
Getting back to the differences in flower shape, this next lovely deep blue has quite elongated petals.
And this next one almost looks like a completely different flower.
Their size and number of individual flowers varied widely as well, from tiny little single flowers up to monsters covered in blooms, this next one was only a few centimetres tall with flowers perhaps only 2cm across.
While this next monster, well it’s actually 2 plants, were about 3 feet tall with dozens of individual blooms.
According to the orchid book I have, these are only supposed to have 7-9 blooms per plant, guess these ones are just freaks. Nice freaks. 🙂 While we’re on the subject of freaks, there were a few I found like this over the time I spent here.
With their “bits” projecting out from the rest of the flower.
OK, enough of my waffle, now I’ll just post a few more pictures, I had taken hundreds of pictures and it’s taken a while to go through and sort them all. The problem with sun orchids is that they only tend to open when it’s sunny, and flower photography is best when it’s a little overcast. Cloud cover, great, but the orchids all close up.
Oh and I found one other orchid worth mentioning while I was out there, a leopard orchid.