Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Orchids of the Shoalhaven Coast

Last weekend I went with the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society on a chase through the confusing maze of roads in the Nowra to Jervis Bay district. Of course, we were looking for Orchids, and we found quite a number - mostly Greenhoods, but we also found two groups of Epiphytic Orchids. The first of those was the Ironbark Orchid, so named because of its preferred host tree. It was growing so high in the trees that I was not successful in registering even a half-way decent photograph of it.

The second Epiphyte was a bit more accessible, in low growing She Oaks (Casuarina trees). This was Dockrillia teretifolia. This lovely Orchid suffers from the awful common name of Rat's Tail Orchid. Hardly flattering - for a nice flower like this. Note the spidery flowers, and the very long rounded ("terete") leaves which give it its scientific name. In many cases these Orchids were growing on dead or dying trees, and it was apparent that their roots were growing a long distance both up and down the host trees, as they need to trap as much moisture as possible from on, and under the bark of the Casuarina trees, which are obviously their preferred host tree (at least in this environment). In some cases the roots travelled more than a metre up and a metre down the trunks of the trees. Thick fleshy roots are visible on the bark of this tree, if you look closely (click on the image to enlarge it).
The next plant I can write about is the stunning purple Wax-Lip Orchid, Glossodia major. I can affirm that this was difficult to photograph in full sun, as the flowers are very glossy, and there is a terrific amount of reflected light coming from the flower, which causes over-exposure (or "lens flare").
As with many Ground Orchids, when you find them you find hundreds of them. They are stunningly beautiful flowers, growing happily in an apparent waste land area, underneath a powerline easement. Long may they succeed to do so.

The next flower was one of the Greenhoods we had set out to find, which is the "Trim Greenhood", Taurantha concinna.This plant seems more distinctive from the rear view than the front (to my eyes) as it has the appearance of having a very narrow waist-line.There were other plants found too, but I need to consult the books to work out what I managed to photograph. I still have some catching-up to do.

No comments: