Auckland Islands: Spider aka Helmet Orchids

I found some tiny little flowers on Auckland Island and they were like nothing I have ever seen before, something totally bizarre and alien. They were just a couple inches/centimeters tall with strange spiky flowers and round leaves. Deep purple flowers, with green edges, and spider like tentacles. Turns out – these are rare species of spider orchids – Corybas oblongus in Latin. Most definitely unlike any orchids I have ever seen before. Further research showed that these are more commonly known as “helmet orchids”, found in New Zealand and Australian and Papua New Guinea. The Latin name actually refers to the the Greek Korybas, male dancers who wore helmets with crested spikes (like these orchids) and worshipped the goddess Cybele.