Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, March 23, 2009

A different Greenhood - at Long Nose Point.

The panoramic image I showed yesterday, shows you the kind of country this plant likes to grow in. This is Diplodium reflexum (a.k.a. Pterostylis reflexa). Alan Stephenson has confirmed the identity of these plants.
Diplodium reflexum - a fresh flower - from 2008
Note the long curved "hood" and the prominent labellum poking out.
This plant has prominent stem leaves ("cauline" leaves).
The PlantNET site linked above, describes this plant as growing on "ridges and slopes". Try "steep rocky hillsides" in this case. These plants had a view of a 300 metre deep gorge (if only they had eyes to see it with). Magnificently rugged country.

This area has very complex geology, for it is close to a Limestone belt, at Bungonia Gorge, and the Shoalhaven, although famous for running through Sandstone gorges, has not yet, (at this stage) entered classic sandstone country. The image from yesterday shows steep-sided hillsides, not exposed sandstone cliffs, as happens by the time the Shoalhaven reaches the Bundanoon area (some 20 Km downstream from here). At Long Nose Point, there is some sign of sandstone, in the lower level rocks, but the ground is littered with dark fractured shale rocks, which are definitely not Sandstone. The Eucalypt forest is different from the sandstone country too, for there are Stringybarks and other less familiar (to me) types of Eucalypts. One of the prominent Gums there is possibly the Grey Gum, (Eucalyptus punctata) which sheds its bark in large plates, leaving the stem with a blotched appearance. This gum is not familiar to me from the typical Southern Highlands area, although I have seen it growing on similar rocky hillsides, on the Tugalong Road, at Canyonleigh.

Rear view of a flower which is past maturity - it is starting to shrivel.
This is a side view of another flower in the same group as the one above.
You can see the long point of its hood (galea) has collapsed over.

The plant, having flowered is now setting fresh new "rosettes"
(Click to enlarge next image)
These grow from stoloniferous roots coming away from the parent tuber.
These will grow on to flower next year.
Note that, at the base of the stem of the flower, there are no basal rosettes.
Instead the plant has developed those "cauline leaves" I mentioned.
Rosettes of new leaves of Diplodium reflexum.
So, now you know why I was at Long Nose Point, not just for the view, nor for the Spotted Quail-thrush. That was an added bonus.

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