Welcome to the last Colour Inspiration Tuesday before Christmas! Only one more and that’s it for the year!
Yesterday I hinted that I had recently found out about an Australian flower that is even more strange than my Hoya wax flower!
The astonishing little plant in question is Caleana major, commonly called the Flying Duck Orchid.
The Flying Duck Orchid
Have a look at it. What else could it possibly be called?!? I have never seen one of these in the flesh, even though they are reportedly endemic to the areas where I spent my youth. Apparently they tend to go unnoticed due to their small size. And they are not particularly common, being one of about 20 Australian native orchids now being seed banked by the South Australian Botanic Gardens to ensure their future.
Don’t you think this flower is amazing? It looks more like a typcal orchid from the front.
But if its shape isn’t enough for you, its behaviour is fascinating too. Apparently the flower is vibration sensitive and the duck head part moves to trap insects inside the flower for a short period. This is to ensure the insects collect and transfer pollen before they leave. But those poor panicked insects were lured there under false pretences in the first place…. this sort of attention seeking in the plant world is known as being “sexually deceptive”. Oh, the secret sordid lives of sawflies and flying ducks!
Where will the Flying Duck Orchid lead?
I love the sunset colours that I have pulled out of one of Peter Woodard’s Flying Duck Orchid pictures that he has kindly placed into the public domain. At their brightest, Flying Duck Orchids exhibit these rich purple, red brown and peach tones. Of course, there are also the bright greens and yellows in this picture that I could play with.
Another of Peter’s pictures has more muted colours, colours that I also adore.
I think you might understand when I say that I have my plate full at the moment. We all do, this time of year! But I definitely have to bookmark this idea, as I’d love to make an appliqué version of the Flying Duck Orchid sometime later. A cushion project perhaps.
Or perhaps I could use these colours to make something like this fabulous Migrating Geese quilt by Sandra of Musings of a Menopausal Melon- mmm! quilts. That seems appropriate! Sandra has done a fabulous job of her latest flimsy. Go see!
Before you go….
Just to quell any lingering doubts about whether the Hoya from 2 weeks ago is real……. the flowers do perish eventually. ….
And there are fresh buds coming. I like these nearly as much as the flowers themselves!
Wishing you many blessings in the lead up to Christmas and New Year.