Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bunochilus tunstallii on Mt Alexandra, Mittagong.

This afternoon, Kirsten and I made a surprise discovery on Mount Alexandra (a sandstone hill above Mittagong - on the opposite side of Mittagong from Mt Gilbraltar). There was a small community of 5 or 6 plants of Bunochilus tunstallii, in lovely fresh condition. 

This species is closely related to the Tall Greenhood (Bunochilus longifolius) I showed yesterday. and which is pictured below as well.
Bunochilus tunstallii - from Mt Alexandra.
These plants are on Mt Alexandra Reserve, overlooking Mittagong.

A good flowering stem of Bunochilus tunstallii
As far as I am aware, Bunochilus tunstallii is not recorded this far west (it is normally coastal and near coastal). Perhaps it is known from the Blue Mountains? 

PlantNET says:
Distribution and occurrence: Grows in moist areas of sclerophyll forest in coastal and near-coastal districts; south from Robertson.
NSW subdivisions: CC, SC, CT
The map there looks like it might have Blue Mountains records, but there is no mention of that in text.
Geologically where these plants were growing is directly above the Nattai Gorge, and is classic "Lower Blue Mountains" sandstone habitat. The other distinctive plants in this habitat were Waratahs, and Woody Pear. Xylomelum pyriforme  etc. 

Mt Alexandra has very different geology and habitat from "The Gib" (Mt. Gibraltar) - just across the valley.

For comparison, here is a photo of the Tall Greenhood  (Bunochilus longifolius). 
Bunochilus longifolius
There are fine detail differences in the labellum structure, colour and the stiff bristles on the labellum of this species (the "type species" of all these various "Tall Greenhoods") which helps distinguish it from all the other closely related "Bunochilus" species. Click on both "close-up" images to see them closely.

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