Native Flowers

Unfurling Helmet Orchid Flowers

As the Helmet Orchid buds swell, it is difficult to tell if they are flowering simply by looking at them.  The only way I can work this out  is to photograph them and look at the photos on the computer.  In the process,  I have captured the way the flowers open, which I’ve found utterly fascinating.  I hope you do too.   Please read the captions under each photo for more information.

Note that each of these photos is a different flower – I didn’t do a time-lapse sequence.


When it first appears, the bud looks green, and is held close to the leaf.


As the bud swells, it begins to lift and to darken in colour.


The hood begins to pull back, revealing tightly curled purple toothed edges


the ‘teeth’ can clearly be seen in this photograph.


The hood lifts a little more and the flower begins to open.


The green of the leaf is clearly visible through transparent sections of the flower.


This flower is almost fully open. Stay tuned for a fully open flower in a future post.

5 replies »

  1. When I saw the title of this post in my email I said, audibly, “Oh, yay!” That you are capturing this is remarkable and so exciting! THANK YOU! The photos are fantastic.
    Is it really transparency showing the green of the leaf? I would have guessed that the flower has green in it. Amazing photo showing the teeth!
    Can’t wait to see more!

    • Thanks Mary – good question about the transparency. I’m still looking at the different species of Helmet Orchid and working out which one I’ve photographed. Initially I thought it was a Slaty Helmet Orchid (Corybas incurvus) but it also resembles the Tailed Helmet Orchid (Corybas undulatus) which is described as having translucent patches. However, the Tailed Helmet Orchid is found in Queensland and New South Wales, so I don’t think it can be that one… and the Slaty Helmet Orchid doesn’t mention translucent patches. None of the descriptions mention green in the description of the flower, so I have seen this as being translucent… so I think that means I need to do more species research. If I find an answer I will let you know. Lisa

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