The Flying Duck Orchid is a rather unusual looking flower. It looks like a tiny brown and blue
duck with its wings outstretched. Its Latin name is Caleana major.
flower is found in all Australian states except for the Northern Territory. It
enjoys sandy soils the best, and is found in woodlands and heaths especially. It flowers in
spring and summer.
The flower on the orchid is actually upside down, having the labellum, which is
usually on the bottom, on the top, and resembling a ducks head.
All the flowers are
on a long stem coming up from the middle of the flower that can be up to half a
metre tall. The leaves on the orchid are long and narrow, much like native
As with many native orchids, the Flying Duck Orchid has a trigger that traps
insects inside it. When a mosquito or a fly comes to investigate the flower, the
head of the duck, the labellum, swings down and pushes the bug into the body of
the duck, which is actually a hollow pouch. Once inside, the insect gets coated
in pollen. The flower holds the fly prisoner for about 20 minutes and then lets
it go. Then the insect flies away and finds another flower to put the pollen
Article and Photos © Katrina Leel