Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tall Leek Orchid - Prasophyllum elatum

Ten days ago I found a group of Leek Orchids with half-formed flower buds along nearly black flower stems. I guessed that they would open up to be Prasophyllum elatum - the Tall Leek Orchid.

Anyway, I went back yesterday to check their progress. 
The plants I had originally found were not properly open 
(but they were recognisable as being this species). 
Dark stems of Prasophyllum elatum - not yet open
Fortunately I found another group of these lovely flowers, fully open. 
Prasophyllum elatum full stem view

These plants are growing in deep sandy soil on top of Cambewarra Mountain. They are growing in a semi-open heathland shrubbery, not in the rainforest one sees on that same hill, from the main road between Kangaroo Valley and Nowra. Obviously it is a very high rainfall area, but the sandstone provides excellent drainage.

Here is a shot of one of the flower spikes.
Flower spike of a Tall Leek Orchid - Prasophyllum elatum

Close-up of flowers of Prasophyllum elatum.
It seems that the Leek Orchid family of plants are much slower to flower in the Southern Highlands than they are on the Shoalhaven Valley and on the coast around Jervis Bay (where some of the Leek Orchids have already finished flowering).

Cambewarra is an interesting location, in that it is nearly at the same altitude as Kangaloon, but its proximity to the warm coastal plain seems to bring forward the flowering time, relative to the same species at Kangaloon (where they are yet to flower). So altitude (and proximity to the coast) appear to give a considerable delay to flowering time, in Springtime flowering Orchids.


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