Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Orchids and a Green Frog in Kangaloon, today.

On an Orchid Ramble today, in Kangaloon, our best find was a frog! Strange as that may sound!

We were all having a very interesting exploration, looking at Orchids, along the edge of Kirkland Road, in Kangaloon (not trespassing, folks) when a squeal of delight indicated that one of our little group had found something unusual. Indeed they had. Just one metre beside the road was a very fine specimen of the Small Tongue Orchid, and beside it was a tiny green frog.
Sorry about the quality of this second image, but it serves to show some diagnostic features. Close examination revealed it was a Tree Frog (pads on its toes). But it was such a little frog - barely more than an inch (25 mm in length). It had an eye stripe which was quite conspicuous, but a fine line, not a heavy one. From what I can work out, it is possibly a "Leaf Green Tree Frog" Litoria phyllochroa .

Evan, of "Liquid_Ghoul" Frog photos fame, advises me that it is likely to be Litoria nudidigita. These two frog species are apparently very similar (despite the dissimilar images on those hot-linked websites). His reason is that the second species has a more southerly distribution. Mind you, it seems these species have recently been "split". (That feels familiar, as an Orchid enthusiast!). If you look at Litoria phyllochroa on this other website, they show it as having a wide distribution. Maybe old records, prior to these species being re-classified? It is beyond my knowledge. The comforting thing is that both species are known by the same common name "Leaf Green Tree Frog".

Thanks again to Evan who responded very quickly to my plea for help. His full photo set is found here. Lots of interesting photos of very varied subjects. You can search his photos using the "tags", if you are looking for particular subjects.

After the exciting diversion of finding the little Frog, we got back to Orchid hunting. Once again another member of the group found these Tiny Greenhoods (which I had not seen in this locality previously). They are very tall and multi-flowered. (Editors note: DJW 28.3.08 - Remember I am talking about "Tiny Greenhoods" - so it is all relative. These plants were about 10 inches tall (lets guess about 25cm). Compare that with the little brown form of Tiny Greenhoods I have described previously, these plants (today) are twice their size (or more). Those plants average just 4 inches, or 10 cm.)
It is interesting to see the variation in colour which occurs on the same stem of one single plant.The flower on the left is the newest flower of the Tiny Greenhood (Speculantha parviflora). The centre flower is clearly a mature flower. On the right is an ageing flower (it was low down on the stem, and these plants open their flowers from the lowest flower, upwards, so lower flowers are older.) The flower at the top of the right-hand stem was the wide-open flower, which was clearly the newest flower in the group. It is the darkest of them all. (I had not positioned these flowers in "order of age, left to right originally. But I have fixed that now - DJW It was too late originally, I was tired and needed to go to bed.) So, the point is, the flowers start dark green, fade through light greenish yellow and then develop into a soft yellow-brown colour. All in the one plant colony, don't forget. Two plants gowing together, probably linked via underground stolons, and therefore almost certainly genetically identical. It is an ageing process, not genetic variation I am talking about.

And for some light relief, here is George's visiting Peacock, peering in through the windows in George's house. It strays down the road from the pretentiously named Fountaindale Grand Manor. It annoys George, but even he can acknowledge it is a beautiful thing. It is moulting at present, so I did not take a photo of its back, as it was not up to its normal gorgeousness. You can see that the crown feathers are just re-growing.

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