A group of visiting Field Naturalists discovered this Small Spider-orchid growing right next to some Sundew plants I had marked to show them. It was a bit embarrassing to have walked past it multiple times without even noticing it was there. Luckily I didn’t stand on it before the visitors arrived.
In appearance, the Small Spider-Orchid is similar to the Brown-Clubbed Spider-orchid. I’ve had to do some rapid reading to work out what the differences are. Mostly, this boils down to size (this one is approximately 15cm in height while the Brown Clubbed Spider-orchid grows to 25 cm in height) and the flowering period (this one flowers in September and the Brown-Clubbed Spider-orchid flowers in October). Funnily enough, both plants have clubs on the same sepals.
What is a club? The brown ends of the lateral sepals and the dorsal sepal are called clubs because they contain scent glands to attract pollinating insects. Some species of Spider-orchid have clubs on the two petals as well, while others have none.
Spider-orchid plants are pollinated by male wasps, tricked into thinking the flower is a female wasp.
The photographs below show the Small Spider-orchid in more detail.