Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Orchids than one can poke a stick at.

Fringed Helmet Orchid
Corysanthes fimbriata
Today I joined the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society (literally), in a walk in the Seven Mile Beach area, and later, just south of Nowra.

Toothed Helmet Orchids
Corysanthes pruinosa
In both places, there were patches of ground where one could not walk, for fear of stepping on tiny Ground Orchids. Click on the image, to enlarge, and see exactly what I mean.
By my count, there are 37 flowers in this one frame, and many more plants without flowers.
Both these species were formerly known as Corybas, but this group has been distinguised by flowers having a tubular labellum. Most of this group have fringed edges, as these do. Both these species hold the labellum semi-reclined (open), unlike the Corybas species which I have shown previously.

A traditional Ground Orchid
Petalochilus pictus
This lovely Ground Orchid is in a group formerly known as Caladenia. These "Lady Fingers" orchids have been separated to their own genus now. These are familiar spring flowering Orchids, in pink and white colours, generally. But this species is an autumn and winter flowerer.
The distinguishing features are the erect dorsal sepal, and the "column" being red (internally), and green on the back of the hood. The "labellum" is toothed, with white "calli", but the tip is clearly marked yellow.
Sometimes individual flowers are tinged blush-pink, or palest mauve.

Long-leafed Greenhood, and fly
These are not the kind of Orchids to set the hearts of florists a-flutter, but for enthusiasts, these are a joy to behold. Another enthusiast was this little bronze-coloured fly, which was sitting on the leaf of this Long-leafed Greenhood (Bunochilus longifolius) at left - formerly classed with the Pterostylis group of Greenhoods. Many greenhoods are said to be pollinated by Fungus Gnats, and Mosquitos, but we observed a number of these flies hanging around various greenhoods today.

The Nowra locality is interesting, for at first glance the area is quite degraded - a rough bit of bush, with tracks all through it, where kids ride their bikes, and horses. Yet there were, in places, hundreds of Orchids in groups carpeting the ground with their little flat leaves.
I understand this is Diplodium obtusum (formerly Pterostylis obtusa). If so, it is the same species as I have previously reported finding on Tourist Road, Kangaloon.

Taurantha concinna (formerly Pterostylis c.)
Trim Greenhood
This small Greenhood specimen was growing in deep sandy loam, amongst a large stand of Burrawangs (Cycads) in heavy coastal forest.
At the end of the day, my mind was spinning with unfamiliar names, but it was a very satisfying experience, with a group of people who really know their local area, and their Orchids.
Thanks to the expert guidance of Allan and Barry and the other members of the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

Hello Denis,

I am another lover of ground orchids. You certainly had a productive foray, and accompanying experienced orchid observers would be fantastic.

I am very interested in the Pterostylis name changes. Do you know why the name change, and are there still some that go under the name Pterostylis?


Gaye from the Hunter said...

Denis, thank you for the detailed information via email.