Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another New Orchid (for my photo collection)

Last week Colin and Mischa and I walked along an excellent track in a Nature Reserve at Bombaderry Creek (near Nowra). I remember expressing some scepticism, in view of the apparently unprepossessing location, but Mischa assured me that the walk "was good for the soul". That was a surprising "review" of a walk, I thought, but indeed she was right.

It turned out that the walk went along the edge of a narrow gorge, through which the Bombaderry Creek runs. It is a classic Sandstone gorge, with many huge rocks which have fallen from the cliffs, some 50 metres above.
Magnificent Spotted Gum growing up against the cliff,
has been rubbed against the rock
and it formed a huge callus plate.
(Click to enlarge the image.)
What looks like a chopped off branch is the callus,
where the tree has rubbed against the cliff line.
The only Orchid which we saw in flower is the unpopular "Dog Orchid" (Cestichis reflexa, formerly known as Liparis reflexa), which get that common name from supposedly having an unpleasant odour - but I COULD NOT detect it. These Orchids were almost everywhere, on the rocks, in the wet gullies and steep cliffs and rock faces. They are epilithic (lithophytic) preferring to grow on rocks, but we did see a few growing in the soil just below rocks.
The flowers appear to show more yellow as they age.
But they start out as green flowers.
From the front, these flowers look quite square, with the column standing up prominently like a little hammer.
Here is the botanical illustration from PlantNET, which shows this shape well.
Here is Colin walking in front of a bunch of these plants ground thickly on a rock, just above head height. Most of them were growing very high on the cliffs. That habit explains why this is the first time I have photographed this species up close. They are not rare, it is just that they tend to grow in inaccessible places, rock ledges and narrow crevasses, in wet places, generally.Here are the same plants.There are also some Dockrillia striolata growing here too.There were many birds in this gully, including the rare Origma ("Rock Warbler"). There were many Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters present, as well as migrating Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. It was a very good place for a walk (approx 3 hours, and not a walk to be rushed). As Mischa said it was indeed "Good for the Soul".


mick said...

That sounds like a very interesting walk - magnificent trees like that are well worth seeing and orchids in such abundance! "Good for the soul" indeed!

Gouldiae said...

Great looking spot Denis, and I loved the 'weirdness' of the Dog Orchid.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Trees as tall as the cliffs were great to see up close.
I didn't mention the many varieties of fungi either, or the ferns, or the rocks and lichens and mosses, and, and, and.
And it was on the edge of suburbia - remarkably.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae
"Weirdness" - yes I can go along with that. But in the Orchid family, they are just about all "weird" one way or another.
Quite cute, in a strange way, really.
Thanks for your comment.