Christmas Bells

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Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Centenary of Wattle Day + more Orchids

Thanks to Kirsten's Facebook page, I now realise that tomorrow, the 1st of September, is National Wattle Day. It has not always been thus, (our Queensland cousins used celebrate it in August); but in 1992, the first day of September each year was declared 'National Wattle Day' throughout Australia. The first 'national' Wattle Day was celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on the First of September 1910. You can read more about the history of Wattle Day on the Wattle Day Association site.

Here is a Wattle growing in my yard, which grows naturally in the Mittagong area. Close, but not "natural" in Robertson's red soil. But the plant does not mind. Anyway, it happens to be the only photo I have to hand of any flowering Wattle. I have other Wattles in flower, but I am slack, because it is dark outside now and I am not going to try to take any new images now.This is a very narrow-leaved Wattle, which has ball-shaped inflorescence (compound flower structure) not long "rods" as the other flower-structure of some Wattles is known.
More Orchids from Albion Park, on Sunday.
Hymenochilus bicolor.

This one was a complete surprise to me - I have never seen it, or even heard it talked about by the local ANOS enthusiasts. Kirsten showed it to me, but was quite matter-of-fact about it. She didn't expect me to get excited about it, but I did.

Clearly this is a close relative of yesterday's unpronounceable Orchid (lets just call it the "gibbosa". Some authorities put them both in the same group - Oligochaetochilus. More generally, yes, they are both Greenhoods (Pterostylis) in the old classification. This one is now known as Hymenochilus bicolor.
Click to enlarge to see the unusual "knob" on the labellum
and note that the labellum is otherwise thin and flat.
It has a distinctive black beak-shaped gland on the labellum, which distinguishes if from the closely related H. mutica.

What I think of as a "semi-side-on" photo.
It shows the labellum being free-standing from the cupped structure
below the flower, which are actually the lateral sepals.
Although they look to be cup-shaped, they are not.
They are partially fused, but technically they are two separate organs.

It differs from yesterday's Orchid in having small rounded lateral sepals, which are not recurved (sweeping backwards as in yesterday's plant). The top part of the flower (the galea) is very similar in both species. The Labellum is very different from yesterday's plant, being a shallow spade-shaped organ (not a thick protruding structure), with the black bump at the top (well base of the labellum, actually).

That latter clarification is necessary, because Orchid specialists describe the labellum (and other parts of the flower) as having the base as that part which is closest to the point of origin (where it starts to grow from). But of course, as we see the black bump, it is at the top of the labellum. But botanically, it is at the "base" of the Labellum. That's why the labellum illustration below (on the right) appears to be "upside down". Convention has it that you start where the labellum separates out from the rest of the flower, that's all.

Photographed in profile.
This angle accentuates the rounded cup-like structure
of the lateral sepals held below the flower,
and of course, enclosing the Labellum.
This image mimics the angle of the botanical drawing above (top left).

Unlike yesterday's plant, this one is not endangered, and is fairly widely distributed.


Miss Eagle said...

Pardon me for being a controversialist about Wattle Day. Perhaps it is because I am a Queenslander and never got caught up in the sentimentality of the day celebrated in the south. I have sounded off on this at my blog, The Trad Pad. Have a look at it here:

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Miss Eagle
Your comments about variations in seasons are quite correct, but that simply demonstrates how vast our country is, and with wildly different climatic conditions. Tasmanians might suggest 1 November for Wattle Day.
I hope you did notice my preemptive reference to Queenslanders and their allegiance to 1 August.
Or does your comment just demonstrate that Queensland ought be allowed to secede from the Commonwealth?
Or better still, expelled?
You do know I am only stirring you, OK?
I still support the Maroons in State of Origin - that's where true tribal loyalties are demonstrated, isn't it?

Miss Eagle said...

True tribal loyalties are celebrated over Bundy with the State of Origin in full flight.

catmint said...

despite any interstate loyalties, let me wish both of you happy wattle day whenever and however you wish to celebrate it. from catmint who is even further down south!

Mac_fromAustralia said...

I grew up in Canberra and I was surprised to learn only a few years ago that Wattle Day is NOT the first of August. I was rather disappointed, it was nice having something as a reminder that spring was only a month away.