The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Western Australia in 2007

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Hammer time!
It turns out that they were all of 30 meters away from me, but that small distance meant that a whole new set of plants were available for our enjoyment. This is a nifty little hammer orchid (Drakaea glyptodon) that has the common name of King-in-his-carriage. This species mimics female Thynnid wasps. Males are attracted by the orchid and land on it, believing it to be a female wasp (the females are flightless, by the way). The male wasp is hoping to grab the female and fly off with it, but instead, a sticky pollen packet from the orchid is attached to his body. If this male is tricked a second time, on a different flower, the sticky pollen packet pollinates the plant.

The flower mimics the female wasp so well that it even produces a pheromone similar to the wasp pheromone!

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Revised: November 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005