Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More rare plants from Mt Rae forest

Readers will recall that I have a friend, Mark Selmes, who is campaigning to protect the forests of Mt Rae, near Taralga (north-east of Goulburn).
Mark had been promising me to let me know as soon as the rare Diuris aequalis (the Buttercup Doubletail Orchid) started to flower.

These plants are a lovely colour of clear golden yellow.
By contrast with Diuris sulphurea
which was also in flower on the same day,
these flowers were distinctly golden, not lemon yellow.
Even the lovely yellow D. chryseopsis had a different colour,
and grows out in the open grasslands
and has very different shaped "ears".
This plant is listed on the NSW Threatened Species list.
It is endangered because of the threat from clearing of the Wet sclerophyll forests (grassy sub-formation).
Anyway, Mark was as good as his word. I went there on Monday and we saw only 5 of these plants, but that's just the start of the season. Hopefully many more of these plants will be seen and their locations recorded before the season ends for them.

You can clearly see the labellum of the flower,
the beautifully rounded dorsal sepal (above the column).
You can clearly see the two callus ridges
divergent, at the top of the labellum.
The labellum itself has a prominent ridge towards the lower edge.
But it is less pronounced than some other species of Diuris.
It is worth remembering that these plants grow only amongst grasses and bracken ferns on the floor of the forest. But the forest needs to be there, for the plants to survive. These plants are not found in open cleared areas close by. They grow only under the canopy of the forest.

That is why Mark Selmes's campaigning to protect the Mt Rae forests is important - for these rare, threatened plants to survive.

Note how tightly the lateral sepals
(the so-called "double-tails")
are tightly held under the flower.
Mark Selmes will be the guest speaker at the forthcoming meeting of the National Parks Association, (Southern Highlands Branch) on Wednesday, 18 November, at the Moss Vale CWA Hall (adjacent to the Wingecarribee Shire Council chambers) at 7:30 PM.


mick said...

That's a beautiful flower and certainly worth protecting the habitat.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick
I agree entirely.

Mosura said...

Very nice. I've only seen one Diuris (Diuris orientis) around here.

Junior Lepid said...

That's a lovely one, Denis.

It's been far too hot here to go looking for orchids.. 35deg+ days! :-(

Agreed - habitat protection is always important that's why I'm delighted Garrett arrived at the right decision regarding the Traverston Dam debacle.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura and JL.
Thanks to both of you for commenting.
I understand about the heat JL, as I have been away for 4 days birdwatching near West Wyalong (north of Wagga) in central Western NSW - at 39 degrees.
The bush there is tinder dry, and many young plants have died. Horrific.
Old trees are just hanging on.
Needless to say no Orchids there either.