Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Orchids underwater, Belmore Falls at their best.

Some of the little Wasp Orchids which I wrote about several days ago were under water today. I mentioned that Chiloglottis sylvestris plants were growing in a muddy creekbed. Well today, the creek was "running a banker", and so the plants were literally under water. OK, not under much water, but it shows how adaptable these little plants must be - for they flower at this time of year, when Robertson, traditionally receives summer storms. So, periodic flooding is something these plants must have evolved with. And yet they grow in the creek beds, unlike the other local related species which have a marked preference for drier locations - well, at least NOT creekbeds.

Here is a close-up of Chiloglottis sylvestris. It shows the greenish neck of the "pseudo-insect", with a dark tip. Unlike the other related species the tip of this gland is not divided or notched. The "gland" is relatively small. It covers less than half of the labellum. The Labellum is held quite high, although it is more-or-less flat. The "clubs" are short, and wide held, and not reflexed. These features contrast with the other two local species, as shown in this (linked) photo, published several days ago. Robertson has had a bucket-load of rain in the last 3 days. As a result the soils are drenched, and and water is running off - everywhere.

So the edges of the roads are pouring water down the graded gutters, into creeks and the creeks are then flowing steadily. This includes the little creek flowing through the Melaleuca thicket where the little Chiloglottis Orchids are growing.Overnight the levels of the creeks dropped from their peak. But this morning, there was still a lot of water going over Belmore Falls. The sound of this rushing water was very strong, even from several hundred metres away, across the valley.Here you can see the top falls and the second level falls at Belmore Falls.
You can see why Belmore Falls is one of the favourite "lookout" points in the Southern Highlands.

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