Soldier’s Crest Orchid – Oberonia titania

Oberonia (OH-bur-row-nee-a) J.Lindley 1830 titania (ty-TAY-nee-a) Endlicher.

This delightful tiny plants Genus was Named after Oberon the King of the Fairies and this particular species was also named after titania the Queen of the fairies. Quite a wit on the part of both Lindley and Endlicher the botanists involved.

Common name: Soldier’s Crest Orchid.

Oberonia titania

Oberonia titania

The plant seen at right is about 50mm across with the flower spike being about 80mm long. These dimensions give you an inkling of how tiny and “fairy-like” the individual flowers are at about 1mm across.

I have found quite a few of these orchids growing on fruit trees in our tropical fruit orchard. They seem to favour Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna). Perhaps because of the fairly rough bark. I have also found them growing in the Mangrove community on similarly rough barked Bruguiera sp.

The mature plants seem to have reddish tinge to the leaves, particularly those that are growing in direct sunlight.

Oberonia titania flower spike

Oberonia titania flower spike

The orchid family is one that constantly amazes me with its dramatic contrasts. From flowers that are large, flamboyant and colourful to ones that are so small that it is hard to comprehend what minute insect would be visiting the flowers to enable fertilization.

If you enlarge the top photo you can clearly see that there are fully formed seed pods on this particular plant so fertilization has been achieved.

7 responses to “Soldier’s Crest Orchid – Oberonia titania

  1. Excuse this if it is a naive question – I know little or nothing about orchids! – but are all those tiny orchids pollinated by insects or are any wind pollinated? btw it’s a very cute name!

  2. G’day Allen,
    What a delightful little plant. Nice write up.
    Gouldiae.

  3. Hi Mick, I don’t know if there are wind pollinated orchids. I haven’t heard of any personally but with many thousands of orchid species world wide?
    Most of Australias orchid species are noted as insect pollinated but there are some that self pollinate and some where the flower does not even open to allow pollination.
    Allen

  4. Yes Gouldiae it is a nice little plant and even when it is not flowering, because the leaves are a bit coloured and are arranged in a nice fan-like way, the plant still has some appeal. This is certainly my favourite orchid time of the year.
    Over the next couple of days we head up to Mt Lewis and hopefully will find some of the upland species
    Regards allen

  5. Hi Allan
    You mentioned this tiny one several posts ago. Amazing. I thought Microtis were small!
    Relative giants, compared to this one, it seems.
    Nice write-up.
    Cheers
    Denis

  6. Hi Denis, tiny but cute.

    Mick I have had further reading on pollination and it would seem that some of the Oberonia species also use splash pollination as a means to fertilization.
    Allen

  7. I finf the Oberonia an interesting genus. Fits right in with yje pleurothallids and other minatures

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