Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Orchids of Tallowa Dam road, Kangaroo Valley

Today I was invited by Beth Boughton to go down to the Three Lookouts Fire Trail, along the Tallowa Dam Road (south from Kangaroo Valley). It is on the Shoalhaven River, at the junction with the Kangaroo River.
We went out along the Fire Trail to the Tallowa Dam Lookout.
The wildflowers along this track were beautiful to see.

Of course I took some photos of many different flowers, but I lack the necessary reference books to identify them all properly, so I might leave that to another day.

I can identify the Orchids, however.

The first we found (in the car park area) were Tiger Orchids (Diuris sulphurea) which I have photographed previously - so I did not bother today.

Then we came to a patch of Spotted Sun Orchids (Thelymitra ixioides). These were the first I have seen open in the Southern Highlands (this year).
To follow up from previous postings about Beard Orchids, here is the "Red Beard Orchid" - Calochilus paludosus. A lovely specimen with the flower fully open, and the dorsal sepal held upright (not bent over as in C. robertsonii - published previously).
The most unusual Orchid (uncommon, locally) we saw was this one - The Tall Leek Orchid, Prasophyllum elatum. I have a note in one of my plant books that I "may" have seen this plant 7 years ago. But in those days I did not have a camera, and so I have no definite records of the sighting. This is the first time I have photographed this species.
This second plant was growing out from under a shrub, and it has straightened up. You can see the green leaf and the very dark stem on which the flower buds are very tightly held closely against the stem (ovaries "adpressed").
Here is the flower stem closer up.
And one flower image "cropped".

The flowers of Leek Orchids are upside-down compared to most Ground Orchids. If you go back to the Beard Orchid for a moment
you can see what I mean.
The red bearded "labellum" is underneath that flower whereas in this flower it is the dorsal sepal (normally the"hood") which is underneath the flower. The two "lateral sepals" are fused together over the flower. They act to protect the Labellum, which is the white bit surrounding the column (yellow bit).
After we found that one, we walked a bit further and found
yet another Leek Orchid species.

This one was just finishing, whereas the other was just starting.
This is the Yellow Leek Orchid, Prasophyllum flavum. The stem and the leaf of the plant were all yellowish green. Contrast that with the dark stem of the previous species.

Just about everything about these flowers is old and damaged.
But you can discern the distinctive
crimped and wrinkled edge of the labellum.
That is the white part above the centre of the flower.This Orchid is not common in the Southern Highlands or the Shoalhaven district. I photographed one last year, in Penrose, in mid November. So, this plant might be a bit early.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Love you Denis!!! What a great walk and what an adventure...... finding special treasures..... as we walk this life together!!!!!