Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

South Coast Orchids - at Winter Solstice

On Sunday I went with Alan Stephenson and a small group of members of the Australasian Native Orchid Society to search for Orchids in the Nowra area. Alan had already been out to locate plants worth while showing to us, but these things are so small, that one has to "find them" every time - even if you know they are within 5 metres of you.

I was very pleased to find this particular plant of Acianthus fornicatus.
The dorsal sepal is quite broad, and hooded. The flowers are nearly transparent, which as you can see makes them hard to photograph, for all the reflections the flower surface generates.
Here is the closely related plant - Acianthus exsertus. Its stem is purplish, and the flowers have more red than the previous species. More significantly, the flower has a narrower shape. The dorsal sepal is held more upright
(though this does vary with the stage of development of the flower).
The column on this species is much more exposed
(As you can see above, A. fornicatus has the column nearly covered by the hooded dorsal sepal).Here is a familiar Greenhood - the Cobra Greenhood
Diplodium grandiflorum.
This is a lovely flower which I always enjoy seeing.In contrast with the Greenhood above, which is relatively tall, these next group are "Helmet Orchids" - tiny ground-hugging plants.
Corybas aconitiflorus.
The flowers are completely "hooded" over, with their opening approachable only from the underside. These plants are pollinated by fungus gnats (tiny flies), which tend to hang out low down (where the fungi grow).Here is a colony of these plants.
There is great variation in the amount of red amongst these flowers.
Here is a related plant - another "Helmet Orchid".
This species holds its flower much more open to the air.
It also has a fringe around the opening in the flower.
It is these differences which separate the Corysanthes from the Corybas genus (under the new classifications).
This plant is now called Corysanthes pruinosa


mick said...

Such tiny beautiful plants. Showing some of the other surrounding plants gives a great idea of their size - thanks! It must have been good to have a whole group of people who were interested in the same plants.

Duncan said...

Lucky you Denis, orchids are still very sparse down here due to the dry.

Denis Wilson said...

Sorry about your "dry" Duncan. Not much I can do about that, unfortunately.
Off to see the NSW Minister for Water this morning, as a matter of fact, but even he cannot make it rain.
Thanks Mick.
I really should put in more general shots (than I did) for "scale", but with the lens I was using such shots are always too dark. I need to remember to change lenses occasionally. The tiny Corybas are growing with some moss, as you can probably see. Moss and dead leaves on the ground help set the scene, a bit.

Tyto Tony said...

Happy orchiding! (On rain, even if most of us could make it happen, I'm sure any NSW pollie would mess it up.)

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
That's a wonderful collection. Beautifully depicted too. Think I'll leave all the fine detail of differences between species and changes in taxonomy to truly dedicated people such as yourself. Enjoyable stuff, thanks.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae.
Well, you also have Duncan to help you with your local Orchids too, but he has already been on bemoaning the lack of flowers, owing to the dry conditions.
Well, I suppose that "virtual" Orchid spotting is better than nothing.