Can you roll your tongue?

Large Tongue Orchid

Apparently not everyone is able to roll their tongue but on our last club excursion we found an orchid that could. When you see the Large Tongue Orchid, Cryptostylis subulata, one does not immediately think of an orchid  but it is.

The labellum is the most obvious part and looks like a tongue hence the common name. This orchid is not rare and is found mainly in southern Victoria. There five species in Australia and all are pollinated by one wasp species.

the under side of the orchid

The column, a structure that has the stamens, style and stigma, is found under the “tongue” and appears to be designed so the orchid can’t self pollinate. This orchid like many others is dependant on the wasp. It is also reported to be slow to recover from a summer fire.

A highly recommended reference is Flora of the Otway Plain & Ranges 1 by Enid Mayfield



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