The Corybas Orchids

Today I want to introduce you to the wild miniature world of the helmet orchids (genus Corybas). These little marvels of evolution are native to Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, southeast Asia, the Himalayas, southern China, a handful of Pacific islands, and a few sub-Antarctic islands as well. They are a poorly understood genus and at least a handful of species are threatened by habitat destruction and poaching. If you are looking at these and thinking "I want one!" please do your homework and make sure that you are purchasing nursery grown specimens.

Photo Credits: kavanaru (http://bit.ly/1TtoBuq), cvh-news CVH新闻 (http://bit.ly/1VqTb5G), Orchi (Wikimedia Commons), Michael Whitehead (Wikimedia Commons), chipmunk_1 (Wikimedia Commons), Boaz Ng (http://bit.ly/1LwfmSp), Jon Sullivan (http://bit.ly/1SVfjrg), and Lucas Arrrrgh (http://bit.ly/24dlytW)

Further Reading:
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44392794/0

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22486395/0

http://orchids.chookman.id.au/corybas/corybas.html

Primitive Orchids

image.jpg

The genera Neuwiedia and Apostasia represent something quite interesting. What you are looking at here are believed to be two of the most primitive extant orchid lineages. Unlike most orchids, which have a single fertile stamen fused with a single pistil, these genera have 3 and 2 fertile stamens respectively. Though botanists hesitate to consider these genera ancestral to all other orchid lineages, they nonetheless feel that they represent a very primitive sister-group to other basal orchid lineages such as the cypripediads. They can be found in parts of China, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Queensland, with Neuwiedia having the smallest distribution. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

Photo Credit: Rachmat Setiawan Saleh (http://bit.ly/Zuy37j), Johannes Lundberg (http://bit.ly/1ydRIah), and chipmunk1 (http://bit.ly/1sjMJTh)

Further Reading: 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8339.1993.tb00331.x/abstract