Backyard Buddies
Christmas Orchid

Photo: cskk

Christmas Orchid

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The Christmas Orchid Calanthe triplicata is a native terrestrial orchid that grows in rich soil in rainforest areas and near creeks. It originated in Queensland but now grows more widely in the right conditions from southern NSW to northern Queensland.

It is one of the larger orchids with deep green flowers and a tall flower stem up to 1metre high with multiple white flowers. As the name suggests, it flowers over summer. It is not an easy plant to get hold of and if you want one in your garden, you may have to join an orchid society.

Calanthe orchids produce nectar which is collected by bees, butterflies and wasps but not much is known about the Christmas Orchid pollinators, although it is thought to be pollinated by moths because it mostly grows in shady spots on the forest floor – not the best place for bees and butterflies!

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Sheoaks are very unusual plants because they have separate male and female plants. Each year the males will turn a dusky red colour as they release their pollen. The female trees have small red flowers and lots of seed cones. The sheoak doesn’t have big leaves, instead they have branchlets ..

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