We’ve been here for two Spring seasons now.  Each time, my friend BJ has told me we’re too late to see the Helmet Orchids.  She was able to identify some that had finished flowering, so I know they are here.  Yesterday I decided to get out my Orchid book and see when the Helmet Orchids begin flowering.  About now, is the answer, depending on the particular varietal.

So I set out with my camera and a small tripod in the hope of finding Helmet Orchids.  Almost the first tiny heart-shaped leaf I investigated had a tiny bloom, but they weren’t Helmet Orchids, they were the Small Mosquito-orchids, or as I believe they are now called, Tiny Gnat Orchids.   The more I looked, the more Tiny Gnat Orchids I found.  Sadly, I didn’t see a single Helmet Orchid, but I will keep looking for them.

Today as I type this, I have aching feet and knees from squatting so long to take photographs.  The orchids are so tiny and difficult to photograph that it is not a matter of just snapping once or twice.  I took about 60 photos and I think about five of them are good enough to show. It didn’t seem to matter whether I used the normal lens or the macro lens, the shape and size of the orchid meant that something was out of focus.

Here are three of the photos that demonstrate the initial bud, the full flower stem and an open flower.

To give you an idea of the size, the bud was on a stem about 1 cm high, and the full flower stem with multiple blooms was about 5 cm high.  These orchids are so tiny they make the Parsons Bands look large!

Small Mosquito Orchid bud
A tiny bud lifts its head. The entire plant was about 2 cm high if it was lucky.
Small Mosquito Orchid Flowers
Multiple blooms are on the flower stem, which was about 5 cm in height.
Small Mosquito Orchid Detail
Looking at the open flower, you can see the typical orchid flower structure.