Orchid of the Week: Diuris pedunculata (or, Snakes on a Blog)

If you live in the New York area (and maybe even if you don’t), you probably know about the Egyptian cobra that went missing from the Bronx Zoo a week ago. Well, she has since been found, but not before going out on the town and hilariously Twittering about her “adventures.”

Photo credit: NY TImes

So in honor of this lovely snake-with-no-name (seriously, Bronx Zoo, name this lady!!), this week I’m featuring the Diuris pedunculata, whose nickname is the small snake orchid. I think I can see why—look at that little “fang” in the center of the bloom!

Photo credit: JVinOz, Flickr

These orchids grow in moist grassy areas in New South Wales, Australia, and unfortunately due to habitat destruction, the species is on the endangered species list for that area. The Diuris family is known as “Donkey Orchids” because the genus contains numerous specimens that have two “donkey ear” petals sticking straight up, like so:

Photo Credit: dalinean, Flickr

I just have to post this donkey photo for comparison, because he’s cute:

Photo credit: harvestworksinc.org

Anyway, back to the small snake orchid. These are small plants that flower between August and October. In the below photo, [CHILDREN, CLOSE YOUR EYES!!] you can see an insect doing naughty things to trying to pollinate this flower:

Photo credit: ABC Scribblygum Forum
Photo credit: PMax, Flickr

If only these small snake orchids could escape their habitat and propagate themselves elsewhere! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I visited the NYBG again this week with my mom while she was in town, so stay tuned for a post with lots more photos from the Orchid Show!

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