Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, November 01, 2010

A striking Beard Orchid.

This is a wonderful specimen of the "Copper Beard Orchid" Calochilus campestris.

I have seen this plant once before, in the Royal National Park. But it was a poor specimen compared to this one. This one was growing in a slashed grassland roadside verge, along Tallowa Dam Road, towards the far end of the plateau, before the road drops down to the Dam. It is adjacent to the Morton National Park (Lower Kangaroo Valley section).
This new photo is added in response to Mick's comment.
She always likes habitat shots.
Background is "dry" Eucalypt forest on sandstone ridge,
in a high rainfall area. Not "wet forest" though.
The white flowers are Conospermum about 60 cm high
Masses of Trigger Plants and purple Native Iris (Pattersonia)
grow along these verges,
Plus one tall Bearded Orchid.

First thing to note is the size of the full plant - 95 cm tall
(with some buds yet to develop).
Click to enlarge image.Here is the flower viewed from the side.
Note the hooded position of the dorsal sepal
(that is a flower shape shared with Calochilus robertsonii)
Note: the naked end of the labellum is reflexed under the flower.
Here is the front view of the flower.
Note the amazing coloured "plate"
- two blueish purple lines leading down
to the hairs on the main section of the labellum.
The hairs are very dark in the centre of the labellum,
but towards the base, the hairs are light green.
The anther (the bit of the flower enclosing the pollinia)
is very long.

It looks like a long green-grey "nose".
That impression is heightened by the two "false eyes"
which are dark spots - one on either side of the column.
It resembles some bizarre caricatured face.
This is a technical shot only.
I got this by tilting the stem backwards, so I could
"look up into the column".
That tilting reveals the pollinia still in place in the anther
beneath the "nose" on the "face" of the flower.
The fleshy pink/white section is part of the column.

Another New Photo
This is my effort to bring to life Kirsten's suggestion
in the comments (below) that my Orchid looked like
one of the Ents from Lord of the Rings.
Click to enlarge, to see how "world weary" my Orchid can look.


Gouldiae said...

Amazing. Great work as usual Denis.

mick said...

Very interesting detail and a beautiful and unusual flower. The first photo is very interesting showing the habitat. Who would believe that such a delicate flower would be growing in such a place!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and Gouldiae.
Thanks. I know that Mick always likes to see something of the habitat. It is a typical slashed roadside verge. But it is in what we refer to as wet sandstone-based Eucalypt forest. There are much wetter areas near by, but this is on a ridge, so relatively well drained. The gullies are very wet, with wet schlerophyll forest (Coachwoods, Callicoma and Myrtle, plus different Eucalypts).
I have now uploaded one extra photo which shows habitat a little better. Lots of wildflowers. The white heads are from Conospermum longifolium - a plant which does not grow so freely in our higher country, but which is prolific in this lower sandstone ridge country. Masses of purple Native Iris (Pattersonia) and Trigger Plants (Stylidium) too.
And one very tall Beard Orchid!

Anonymous said...

when you look into the eyes of a bearded orchid you could almost think they are related to ents, those lovely trees from Lord of the Rings, they are captivating.

mick said...

Thanks for the extra habitat photo Denis.

Denis Wilson said...

For those of you not familiar with Kirsten's reference, look at this page re Ents
Stunning resemblance to a Beard Orchid.
Thanks Kirsten

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
My problems is getting decent
"habitat" shots with my macro lens which I use for the super close-ups.
Changing lenses in the bush is possible, but fraught with danger (dust mostly).
Happy to be able to help out with that extra image, Mick.

Susan Buret said...

I see the results of lessons in the clouds.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Susan
Yes, indeed. But I am not sure Stephen would claim any credit for that effort of mine.
Thanks for commenting.