Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

More Orchids from Jervis Bay region

Well, having shown you the "Pretty as a Picture" Orchids yesterday (Petalochilus pictus), today I will show you some odds and sods.

Interesting little Orchids, but some are so small and so hard to figure out what side is up, that you might well wonder about them (or me). I find these crazy little plants totally fascinating.
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Lets start with a Green form (technically classed as an "Alba" form) of Acianthus fornicatus. "Pixie Caps". Basically it lack the red pigment, leaving the plants green tissues as the only colour.
These plants were thick on the ground, in the same area as the "Pictus". There are about 25 flower spikes in this 'frame".
Their "heart shaped" leaves nearly cover the sandy soil.
There is a small fern, a few tufts of grass, and lots of dead leaves on the ground. The rest are these green Orchids.

OK - so this is an normal form of the same species.
You can see that the flowers are nearly transparent,
so they are not strongly pigmented at the best of times.
Their flowers are highly reflective.
The rounded hooded flowers give it the provocative Latin name,
which apparently in botanical Latin means "arched or bent over".
Next we come to the Corybas group of Orchids.
Corybas aconitiflorus is even more "hooded over" than the previous plant.
This is a dark red coloured specimen.
It is known in English as the "Spurred Helmet Orchid".
That name makes more sense if you see the flower as botanical artists do,
on a table, in a laboratory.
(Source: RBG PlantNET)
In the bush you only see the top of the flower.

Here is a more normal coloured plant,
with a greyish purple hooded flower.
These plants are quite small, leaves less than the size of a 20 cent coin
and the flower is the less than half size of a regular snail shell.
Here you can see one flower against my fingernail.
That might help you get the scale.
Another Corybas, and a rare one at that.
Corybas undulatus.
It has lightly toothed edges of the labellum.
Click on the image to see the fine details of the flower.
This plant is on the southern most limit of its distribution,
where we saw it, near Jervis Bay.
Its hood (dorsal sepal) is held more open than the previous species.
Both Corybas species here are ground-hugging plants.
From above you can see that the side of the flower is flared out.

These plants were not numerous. There are just three visible here.
They were growing in a muddy drainage line in typical sandstone scrub.
Eucalypt upper storey and many Proteaceous shrubs.
And now to more familiar Orchids, Greenhoods.
If you are a traditionalist you may refer to all these as Pterostylis.
Pterostylis acuminata
Here she is poking her long tongue out.
The rosettes of these plants nearly covered the ground,
but just for about one metre.
There were only a few flowering plants.

The next species is now known as Taurantha concinna
To my mind, this plant has an attractive "bum"
when viewed from the rear.
It is at its most striking when viewed up close - from the front.
Click the image to enlarge it to full viewing size.
Only then will you see the forked labellum.
The pollinia are just visible
in the back of the throat of the flower (behind the labellum).
This specimen is showing quite a lot of red in the front of the flower.


mick said...

Fascinating and beautiful as always!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick
I like these Orchids for their variation in form.
Hardly recognisable as related plants.

Wilma said...

What good eyes you have, Denis! Mick has got it right -- they are fascinating and each is beautiful in it's own right.


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Wilma.
Good eyes?
I wish. I did once.
It takes a lot of lying down in the mud for me to get these photos.
But Its worth it when people such as yourself appreciate them.

Flabmeister said...

The benefit of lying in the mud and photographing these little gems is that one can then enlarge the image and see how intricate they are. It is even better if someone else does the 'lying in the mud' part! Thank you Denis!

None of the orchids on our property are anything other than rosettes at the moment. They begin to flower in about October from memory. This is one of the differences caused by an extra 700m elevation (and being a tad over 90kms from the warm sea).

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Happy to lie in the Mud - for you and other Orchid admirers!
Up here (where I am) there is not much happening at present, either, which is why a mid-year trip to Nowra is good.
We do really well at other times, such as November.
But there is usually something trying to poke its head up, somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Oooh how exciting! On all my orchid hunts I'm yet to see a Corybas!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Lynds
I first saw them growing (naturally - not planted) in the Botanic Gardens in Canberra. Growing beside a path below the "Eucalypt lawns". Probably at the far end (northern end) of one of the beds with Hakeas in it.
They are one of those things which I like to refer to as "God's little jokes" (whether or not one is a theist, the phrase makes sense.).
Obviousluy it helps if you are with someone who can take you to where they are growing (as happened last Sunday). Thanks to Alan Stephenson and the Australasian Native Orchid Society ANOS.
They have a Canberra Branch.

Gouldiae said...

Beeeautiful Denis. Are things happening a bit early there?
I've just managed to get my head above the oil spill this morning. Very clever stuff.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae
The Shoalhaven coast is relatively mild, and so starts much earlier than our Highlands region. Much earlier.
But the date of this visit is traditional, every year. So, the answer has to be "No, not early - for there".
Glad you escaped the Oil Spill.