Orchids, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

orchid   orchid

Orchids are common in the undergrowth in many places in the park. Once again we were fortunate that our trip coincided with their flowering season.

To the left is a rattle beaks orchid, Lyperanthus serratus.

Above, the western duck orchid, Sullivania nigrita. Pollination in this species shows the complex evolution typical of many species of orchids. This species of orchid is visited by a particular species of thynnine wasp. The wasp is tricked into attempting to copulate with the labellum of the orchid (the dark mass to the left). When it lands on it, the labellum snaps forward and folds into the column (the sack like structure on the right). As it thrashes around trying to get out the wasp becomes coated with pollen. In a few minutes the labellum of the orchid unfolds again, releasing the wasp. The wasp, bearing the pollen, flies to the next orchid, and is tricked again (doh!) into attempting copulation. While trapped in the new orchid it transfers pollen to the orchid's stigma.

Next Page
Return to Index