Article by Karen Hising, Jan Allen and Keith Brister
Jan Allen, a very observant Bushcare volunteer from the Upper Mountains, found this beautiful Orchid. From research, we were not sure of the full identification, but we have been advised that it may be Chiloglottis seminuda – other experts may offer an opinion.
The genera Chiloglottis is also known as Wasp Orchid. The common name comes from the “callus” – the glands on the labellum, which resemble the body of a female wasp. Instead of being attracted by the general offer of nectar or pollen, many Orchid species, such as the native Chiloglottis genera, use sexual deception to attract male wasp pollinators. These Orchids emit an odorous pheromone very similar to the sexual pheromone produced by females of the pollinator species, thereby luring the male to the flower with the false offer of sex.
Pollination occurs when the male wasps attempt to copulate with structures on the Orchid labellum that mimic the wingless, ant-like female. The high degree of specificity between sexually-deceptive Orchids and their pollinators indicates that there must be subtle, but important, differences in the pheromones produced among even closely related Orchids.
Uncovering The Sexual Tricks Of Orchid Flowers (Abstract) – Julianne D Livingston http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n1676/pdf/ch04.pdf
Memoirs Of The Museum Of Victoria 56(2):461-466 (1997) Hidden Biodiversity: Detection Of Cryptic Thynnine Wasp Species Using Sexually-Deceptive, Female-Mimicking Orchids (Abstract) – Colin C. Bower and Graham R. Brown https://museumsvictoria.com.au/media/4804/jmmv19975639.pdf
CLICK below to read the book review – Orchids of the Blue Mountains by Sabine Hanisch and Ben Jasiak; how their daughter discovered a long lost orchid and also about the multi-billion dollar Bush Blitz project – a project finding thousands of new species.