Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, April 16, 2007

Helmet Orchids

Last week I reported that David Jones, from the CSIRO's Australian National Herbarium, had told me that the small Helmet Orchids I had found were the relatively common Corybas aconitiflorus, but with small and as yet undeveloped flowers. This week comes the proof.

This developed flower is still very small, (less than 10 mm from front to back) and it is growing on a particularly small leaf, a mere 13 mm long.

None the less, it is considerably developed from the small flower of which I published a photo last week (and the week before).
Those photos did not have a scale, but today's photos do.

Forgive the slight parallax error problems. You can see that the undeveloped flowers are still only 6 mm long, and are very narrow, at a mere 2 mm wide.

It is the width which changes most as the flower matures. I shall go back again, over the next few days and measure a number of plants with a vernier caliper, to get precise measurements, which I shall pass on to David Jones. The point is that these flowers are still small compared to the standard measure for this species. As such, it is worth recording their size somewhere.

On the weekend, I went to 7 Mile Beach, just south from Gerroa, north-east from Nowra. While in the Littoral Rainforest there, I saw literally thousands of a type of Mosquito Orchid growing so densely on the ground that their leaves almost formed a carpet below the long grasses. Unfortunately those plants were not yet in flower. They had buds, half grown, but they were obviously different to the Dark Mosquito Orchids which I had found on Tourist Road at the end of March. They were definitely of the same genus, however.

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