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.

young-helmet-orchid-bud-on-green-leaf

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

young-helmet-orchid-bud-shown-on-green-leaf

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

helmet-orchid-bud-revealing-toothed-edges

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

helmet-orchid-bud-sowing-purple-toothed-edge

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

opening-helmet-orchid-flower

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

open-helmet-orchid-flower-showing-transparent-membrane

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

open-helmet-orchid-flower

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