Category Archives: Orchid

Xmas orchid!

Dear All,

Was just walking through a forest in Nandi Hills where I came across this little green person clinging to a moss-covered tree. At first I walked by, then noticed the flowering spike and peered in for a closer look. Using a hand-lens loop magnifying glass, I saw that they tiny flowers of this orchid were as gorgeous and colourful as that of many other tropical species. It was so interesting, that I decided to sketch it and share it here.

An orchid from the Nandi Hills in Western Kenya...

An orchid from the Nandi Hills in Western Kenya...

Close-up of the flower 50x times larger than life-size!

Close-up of the flower 50x times larger than life-size!

A closer view of the flower revealed the most intricate arrangement of petals, and a strange deep red-purple ‘lip’ with a fringe of translucent hairs. Truly worth a closer look!

I hope that you will continue to read the blog and spare a moment for the small, but nonetheless important and beautiful creatures, all around us!

Happy Holidays and more from the world of bugs soon!

More pollinator diversity…

celebrate_pollinators-lr5.jpgcelebrate_pollinators-lr6.jpg

More hawkmoths…

Hello – sorry for not posting more often (again!). In response to the question about the moth’s tongues – they can be very long up to 12″ or even more! There are mainly two groups of hawkmoths – those with medium-length tongues and those with super-long tongues…  Here you can see examples of both a short-tongued and long-tongued moth. More soon…  basiothia-lantanlr1.jpg  agrius-on-turraea-lr1.jpg 

Leopard Orchid…

Have been looking closely at a Leopard Orchid (Ansellia africana) to see what kinds of ants visit and potentially tend the buds and flowers. This species of orchid is found along the coast and in the Rift Valley as well as in the western forests of our region. It is a very pretty plant – as you can see from the flowers, the name “Leopard Orchid” is very apt! It is a very variable species. This one is from near Lake Nakuru in the Great Rift Valley:ansellia-nakuru-lr1.jpg And this one is from the Kerio Valley:ansellia-kerio-lr1.jpg There’s even a rare, beautiful heavy-spotted form from the rainforest called the “Black Leopard Orchid”. Here’s a sketch I made of it some years ago:ansellia-black-lr1.jpgansellia-black-lr2.jpgThe flowers of the Leopard Orchid are interesting in that they don’t produce any nectar – just a pleasant lemony scent – and so con bees into pollinating them. However, the buds do secrete nectar droplets before they open and these attract ants…ansellia-buds-lr.jpgYet another mystery that needs to be solved! More soon – thanks for your comments…