Calanthe australasica —Christmas Orchid—ORCHIDACEAE

Calanthe australasica

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat—Grows in dense shade on the floor of rainforests and occasionally in wet sclerophyll forest and swamp sclerophyll forest.

Distribution—Found on the coast, coastal ranges and escarpment up to about 1000 m altitude; north from the Illawarra area in New South Wales and into Queensland.

Description—Evergreen terrestrial orchid to 1.5 m high. Pseudobulb: 3 to 8 cm long, 2 to 4 cm diam.

Local occurrences

Barrington/Gloucester Tops, Black Head Flora Park, Cape Hawke, Sea Acres National Park, Wallamba River Area and Zamia Place Reserve.

Leaves.— 4 to 10 per shoot, long narrow—oval with pointed tip. 25 to 90 cm long, 6 to 18 cm wide; dark green, pleated (Hosta-like.)

Calanthe australasica
Calanthe australasica Calanthe australasica
Calanthe australasica

Inflorescence— White with a yellow center; 18 to 40 flowers on long, erect stems, 30 to 150 cm tall, coming from axils of lower leaves. Flowers bruise if touched

Flowering.—October to January (Mostly December).

Fruit— Capsule, pendulous, oviod, 4 cm long, green, shiny, dehiscent. Note: blue dye extracted from flowers and leaves

Ripe.—June to July.

Calanthe australasica