Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Still more about local Greenhoods.

Today I went back to Macquarie Pass, with Alan Stephenson from the Illawarra branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society (ANOS). Although this is classic rainforest country, we did find clearings where Greenhoods were happily growing.

Alan getting "up close and personal" with a group of Greenhoods.
I'm glad it is not just me that does this kind of thing.
We found many more Greenhoods, in the same general area where I had found the earlier this week. It seems strange, but I think we found one species today which I did not photograph last week, and one which I did photograph last week, I don't think we found today. It is very annoying, but not totally surprising, as these things are far from obvious.

The plant on the right is a classic example of Pterostylis hildae - with a broad nose to the hood. But the other plant is much narrower, and more pointed. It is likely to be Pt. acuminata.
We found a number of these specimens today. They have short points (or "ears"). The only question in my mind is that they do not appear to be "open" in the front. Does that mean they are not yet fully developed flowers?
This one has a very long "nose", and the two lateral sepals, in front, which form the "sinus" and the "points" are starting to separate away from the body of the flower - so it is clearly a fully mature flower, now.
By way of contrast, here is a fat Greenhood, with a very distinctive twisted tongue ("Labellum"). This is Pt. curta. I kid you not, the twisted tongue is its most diagnostic feature - and it is usually quite noticeable - as long as you are prepared to get down on your hands and knees.From the side or the rear, it Pt. curta is very obviously deeper green than Pt. hildae, and with a wide base to the flower (emphasised by the white markings).
We did find another type of Orchid today, which might be a Chiloglottis, or maybe its "cousin" a Myrmechila species. More about that in a few days, when I check some more references.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Denis,

I can relate to your enthusiasm for these delicate little green beauties :)

I found Pt. curta for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and its commical character with that twisted tongue is almost cartoon-like - a delightful find.

I am enjoying your orchid adventures very much - keep them coming. You live in an area more prolific and with a much greater variety of natural treasures than I. But that is making my finds all the more special for me.


Denis Wilson said...

Yes, but when you go up the Hunter, eg, to Barrington Tops then you will be in a really special area. Lots of endemic species there - Orchids, and probably frogs and snakes, etc.

I also expect that you will find more and more special "pockets" of natural vegetation and habitat in your general area. There seem to be special swamps in the lower Hunter area, which in their own way, are famous. Should be good for frogs, snakes and water birds (waders) and maybe the odd Greenhood.