This discovery wasn't mine, unfortunately. My friend has a spotted gum forest behind her house and there a visitor found a colony of large tongue orchids (Cryptostylis subulata), uneaten and thriving. This was exactly the species we'd been stalking on the road to Congo before the volcano trip. The colony there was unobliging and refused to flower for us, obviously because it was too early, although their flowering period is listed October – March. I'm partial to tongue orchids because their leaves aren't shy. They poke up and announce their presence rather than sequestering their identity in thick leaf litter. They're pollinated by ichneumon wasps as they try to mate with the flower lip, yet another deception practised by orchidaceae in the interests of procreation.

The enterprising photographer, Lynda Wightman, used toilet paper as background to get a clear shot.



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