Friday, July 13, 2012

Hymenochilus mutica

Hymenochilus mutica - Midget Greenhood in the Pilliga
Name change: Hymenochilus mutica used to be known as Pterostylis mutica.

Family: Orchidaceae

Common name: Midget Greenhood

Flowers: 4 to 20 small green flowers, each about 1cm long. The upper part of the flower forms a small blunt hood and the lower sepals form a shallow 'pouch'. The small green lip has a prominent green recurved appendage visible when the labellum is set ready for potential pollinators. If the labellum is triggered by movement larger than the tiny insects that pollinate this flower, the labellum springs up to protect it's pollen, and then 're-sets' itself again ready for a prospective pollinator. Flowers chiefly between July and October.

Leaves and stem: The basal rosette of 5 to 12 crowded ovate green leaves can sometimes be withered by the time the flowers emerge. The central scape (stem) can reach 35cm in height, and  has several stem-hugging sheaths.

Habit: Hymenochilus mutica is a tuberous perennial herb which can occur as a single plant, a loose group, or many scattered plants.

Habitat: In the Pilliga region the Midget Greenhood occurs in open woodland and grassy forests. It is also found up and down eastern NSW, and in Qld, Vic, Tas, SA, WA.

Rosette of basal leaves of Midget Greenhood

Habit and habitat in the Pilliga

Flower with the labellum set ready for a potential pollinator

Labellum of same flower triggered by my interference

More information:

Pollination of Midget Greenhood - excellent images