Orchids are in the family Orchidaceae which contains the largest group of plants on Earth. There are more than 25,000 known species of orchids with more to be discovered. The orchids are recognized as the most highly evolved plants with one of the widest distributions. Orchidaceae are cosmopolitan, occurring in almost every habitat apart from deserts and glaciers. The great majority are to be found in the tropics, mostly Asia, South America and Central America. They are found above the Arctic Circle, in southern Patagonia and even on Macquarie Island, close to Antarctica. The orchid flower is the main predicator of whether a plant is an orchid or not. The flower must have three petals and three sepals, with the third petal or lip modified and differentiated from the other two.
Orchids are also classified by how they grow.
Epiphytes grow on other vegetation;
Lithophytes grow on rocks;
Terrestrial grow in or on the ground;
Saprophytes grow under leaves or even underground.
Here is a key to New Zealand native orchids
As of August 2011 the following orchids are catalogued as being in the Te Henui Valley
Gastrodia cunninghamii ,
Gastrodia "long column".
Nematoceras aff rivulare "Te Henui"
Pterostylis aff. montana
There is possibly two species of Microtis and Thelymitra (two unknown species not ID yet )
Bulbophyllum pygmaeum (Pygmy tree orchid)
Corybas papa (Mudstone Spider Orchid)
Cymbidium Lowio-grandiflorum (Exotic)
Thelymitra aff. pauciflora
Thelychiton kingianus (Pink Rock Orchid) Exotic
Thelymitra cyanea (Swamp sun orchid)
Thanks to John Dodunski of New Plymouth who has been a great help in showing us and identifying our local native orchids and Drosera (sundews) and other natives plants.
Thanks to Gordon Sylvester mapping coordinator for the NZNOG
Thanks also to The New Zealand Native Orchids Group who has a informative website at http://www.nativeorchids.co.nz