Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hot weather burst finished some Orchids, kick started others

After three weeks of cold weather, with the Sun Orchids sitting there refusing to open, suddenly we got a burst of hot weather (27.9 C max). Two things happened (well three really) - my Peonies got burnt off (but I'm not going to talk further about them now), and then the little pink Caladenia type things nearly all shrivelled up, and in response to hot weather (which suits them) the Sun  Orchids, Beard Orchids and Flying Duck Orchids all popped open. So, it is a case of win some, lose some.

Firstly, the most prolific Sun Orchid which is found along Tourist Road 
The Spotted Sun Orchid - Thelymitra ixioides
The Spotted Sun Orchid - Thelymitra ixioides var ixioides.

Here is another example - a Spotted Sun Orchid with hardly any spots.
Thelymitra ixioides - a form with few spots
This flower is brand new, and the "column" has not yet fully developed.
It was just expanding, in the warm weather.
A newly opened Thelymitra ixioides
As a matter of record, these are the very first of this species of Sun Orchid to open, in Kangaloon, on 24 October 2011. The same species was rampantly in flower in Nowra, on 28 August, when I went down there with Alan Stephenson, to check out the Depot Road powerline easement - (an equally great spot for Orchids as Tourist Road, Kangaloon).
  • Similar habitat - both are slashed grasslands on sandstone base soil.
  • Different altitude - approx 60 metres in the Nowra case, and approximately 600 metres in the case of Kangaloon.
  • Difference in flowering time: 7 weeks delayed flowering - owing to the altitude and cooler climate.
The next "new season" Orchids to open in the heat were these Leek Orchids. This is an as-yet un-named species of Prasophyllum. The closest species is probably Prasophyllum fuscum, which means I can safely refer to this one as "Prasophyllum sp. aff. fuscum".
Prasophyllum sp. aff. fuscum

And finally (for tonight's Blog post) here is the Flying Duck Orchid - Caleana major. Once again, this is the first of this species to open in Kangaloon this year. I saw one last weekend, at Dharawal State Conservation area, but that is lower and more coastal. So, that time difference is not surprising.
Flying Duck Orchid - Caleana major
I love this weird little flower. it is my favourite "challenge" to the pro-Dawkins lobby, for Richard Dawkins is a keen supporter of the "Blind Watchmaker" view of evolution. I just cannot figure that something this cute, effective (and good looking) is the result of "randomness coupled with cumulative selection". But I stress I am not arguing for an "Intelligent Design" view of the origin of species. I am simply expressing my admiration for the result of some 60 million years of Evolution, in what I like to categorise as one of the marvels of the Nature of Robertson.

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