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A beautiful Rosy Hyacinth-Orchid flower.

To celebrate the New Year, I’m posting the 25th Australian Terrestrial Orchid species found growing wild on our land – the Rosy Hyacinth Orchid. Unlike many of the other Orchids we have here, the Hyacinth-Orchid is large and showy. They can grow up to 1m tall. As the name suggests, they have a brown leafless stem with multiple rosy-pink coloured flowers.

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A side view of the Rosy Hyacinth-Orchid flower.
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I’m not sure how long the orchid stays in flower, but before it was eaten, this stem had quite a few unopened buds.

In the two and a half years we have lived here, this is the first time I’ve seen any. We originally had a clump of six, but an animal has eaten three of them. It was a bit heartbreaking to see the tall stems denuded with a couple of stray petals on the ground. We are trying to protect the remaining three.

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This orchid was in full bloom one day…..
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… and like this the next day. I’m not sure which animal ate the flowers – we’ve recently spotted a rabbit, but it could have been possums or wallabies.
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The culprit left these two flowers laying on the ground.

While four species of Hyacinth-Orchid are on the Advisory List of Rare Threatened Species in Victoria, the Rosy Hyacinth-Orchid is not among them. Given this, I would have expected to see more of them growing on our land. Possibly they were once more plentiful and people have either picked them or tried to replant them. In the reading I’ve done, it seems that any attempt to relocate these Orchids will kill the plant. According to D. L. Jones in ‘Native Orchids of Australia‘ Hyacinth-Orchids have a “close symbiotic relationship with mycorrhorizal fungi”. The plant can’t survive without this fungi.