Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, November 26, 2009

4th blogging birthday, Greenhoods on Tourist Road

It is four years today since I made a very tentative start in the world of Blogging - with a single photo of a Flying Duck Orchid.

Oh well, much has happened since then, but I still post about that most bizarre of local Orchids.

Thanks to Anni who helped me get started. And thanks to my loyal readers, without whose readership (and especially their comments) I would not bother to put myself through these daily challenges.

Hello to Caroline, in the local Doctor's surgery - who told me today she reads my Blog! Its great to hear in person from readers.
She said she likes Peonies - she surely knows how to get my attention.

So this Peony is for Caroline.
This is one of the modern hybrid Peonies - "Flame".
Anyway, I haven't posted enough images of Peonies this season.

And now back to Orchids of the season.

Yesterday I went back to Tourist Road, Kangaloon, and took more photos of the Sickle Greenhood (Pterostylis falcata). Amongst conventional Greenhoods (the Pterostylis group), this is a quite spectacular species, with a large pointed "galea" (hood) and a very wide open sinus ("V" shaped front) and a long "labellum" (tongue) sticking out (when set).

I showed some photos of these plants last week, but I did not get one with the labellum "set" (poking out the front of the flower). That's why I went back yesterday.

These plants are growing in a small drainage line - a ditch - which periodically fills with water, but is dry at present. But quite lush, and I am always wary when in such fine potential snake habitat.

As soon as I found the open flower, I knew I was in luck.
You can see the protruding Labellum - at the front of the flower.
One has to be very careful though, not to accidentally kick a stick,
or a piece of grass which might be touching the plant,
as the labellum will pop back inside the flower.
The Labellum is movement sensitive.
Getting down into the ditch, I got this profile shot.
Closer yet.
What a striking Greenhood!
By the time I took this image, I had done some weeding
of extraneous grasses in the background
to clarify the image of the Labellum.
And here is the Labellum - set, ready to be triggered by any insect.
As I was leaving the site, I found these Microtis flowers. They are "Onion Orchids". The flower has a large swollen ovary behind (below) the tiny little "head" - which is the flower proper. These flowers are on a strong vertical stem about 30 cm high. But the flowers themselves are so small that the "ovary" is about the size of a match head.
I believe this to be Microtis parviflora but to be honest I have never been entirely sure about the species distinctions amongst the Microtis genus.
When the photo is fully enlarged (click on the photo) the image is approximately 20 times larger than life size.
Have a look at Colin's page for the two most common species in NSW - see why I cannot be absolutely sure?

From what I have since ascertained (from several different books), this plant is Microtis parviflora, as the labellum is "entire", not notched.


mick said...

Congrats on your 4th blogging birthday. I am glad you have kept blogging because I have only been blogging for about a year and a half and I wouldn't have wanted to miss yours! I now know a whole lot more about orchids than I ever did before. Thanks!

tilcheff said...

Congratulations on the blog anniversary, Denis!
And thank you for sharing knowledge and experiences with us.

Lately, I've been more a reader than a commenter, but that doesn't mean I'm not visiting almost daily.

Best regards.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Nickolay
Many thanks for the comment.
My question is, what am I going to do without your beautiful bird photos when your "countdown" gets to its end?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Your cheery early morning messages encourage me greatly - to keep going.

tilcheff said...

Thanks, Denis!
I won't probably kill 'Portraits of Australian Animals' completely, but it will go into some sort of deep hibernation for about a year. I need to reconsider many things and focus on others as well as try to shoot less and aim for higher quality.

Gaye from the Hunter said...

Hello Denis,

congratulations! Over the 4 years you have observed and researched such interesting subjects, and your contribution to the creation of awareness amongst the community of our precious natural world is so valuable.

I have enjoyed reading your blogs, and catching up with you regarding tricky identifications etc via email. Thank you.

Once again, congratulations.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

A stunning Pterostylis, another which I have not seen.

I agree with the extreme difficulty in identifying the Microtis species. I photographed some Microtis recently in the SW of WA, and although I have not yet had the time to study the photos, I doubt that I will be able to make a positive identification. The challenge of orchid identification is frustrating, but provides a great learning opportunity.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye
Thanks for the encouragement (over the years).
This Greenhood seems to flower at an odd time of the year, compared to others. That's part of the trick - knowing to keep looking in the "obvious spots" at the less "obvious" seasons.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye

If you have any macro images of your WA Microtis pls send me an image or two, and I will see if I can help.
David Jones's current book has a number of species identified. I would need locations too.