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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flying Duck Orchid

Type of Flower 
Flying Duck Orchid: 
Flying Duck Orchid ( Caleana major ), is a small orchid found in eastern and southern Australia.This terrestrial plant features a remarkable flower, resembling a duck in flight. The flower is an attractant to insects, such as male sawflies which pollinate the flower in a process known as pseudocopulation.In 1986 this orchid was featured on an Australian postage stamp.

Flying Duck Orchid is encountered as a terrestrial herb, up to 50 cm (20 in) tall. 2-4 flowers grow on the green stem.The single leaf, appears near the base of the stalk. It is usually prostrate, narrow-lanceolate, to 12 cm (5 in) long and 8 mm wide, often spotted.The flower is reddish-brown, 15 to 20 mm long. In rare cases, the flower can be greenish with dark spots.The plant is pollinated by insects. A sensitive strap is attached to the flower, which is triggered by vibration. Flowering occurs from September to January.

Occurring from Queensland to South Australia, to even Tasmania,this plant is found in eucalyptus woodland in coastal or swampy shrubland and heathland. Mostly near the coast, but occasionally at higher altitudes.Because of the small size, it is a difficult plant to notice in the wild.

The genus Caleana was named after George Caley, an early botanical collector.Latin for "larger", major refers to the contrast with the other smaller Duck orchid, Paracaleana minor. 
The original specimen of this plant was collected at Bennelong Point, the present day site of the Sydney Opera House in September, 1803.In 1810, the species originally appeared in the scientific literature, Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae, authored by the prolific Scottish botanist, Robert Brown. 
Flying Duck Orchid  has been difficult to maintain in cultivation. Plants flower for one or sometimes two years but progressively weaken until they die.


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