Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Penrose. Tallong and Bungonia.

The ANOS Illawarra group normally does a "Southern Highlands Tour" on the last weekend in October. Several of us (me, Kirsten and Bruce from the Central Coast) did the Robertson and Kangaloon sections last weekend. Today I did the rest of the circuit by myself.

I had hoped to find masses of Sun Orchids at Penrose, but the weather was not in my favour. But there were many Beard Orchids out (Calochilus platychilus). The Purplish Beard Orchid (formerly known as Calochilus robertsonii)
Calochilus platychilus
At Penrose State Forest I saw many of the lovely lilac coloured Diuris punctata (the so-called Purple Donkey Orchid). Then, I went on to Tallong and found masses of en even taller, larger flowered form of this species. They were growing amongst masses of the large yellow-flowered Daisies, Podolepis hieracioides.
Lilac coloured Diuris punctata and Podolepsis daisies.
 In a closer shot you can see the masses of Diuris.
Diuris punctata amongst the Podolepsis daisies.
Here is one of the large-flowered Diuris punctata
Diuris punctata - lilac form.
Here you can see a Beetle which is busy eating the Diuris flower.
Beetle on the Diuris punctata flower
I then went further south to Bungonia State Conservation Area. I spoke with Audrey, the Ranger there, and showed her some of my photos of the Orchid I had gone to find. This plant is in the "rufa" group of plants formerly known as Greenhoods. These days it is known as Oligochaetochilus calceolus. It is endemic to the limestone country around Bungonia. Its specific name refers to its liking for limestone-based soils.
Oligochaetochilus calceolus - labellum has been triggered closed
 The Labellum of this plant has long fine "spikes" (trichomes).
The Labellum is movement sensitive, as part of its reproductive function
for the labellum senses if an insect comes to the flower, and
the labellum snaps shut (as in the previous image).
Oligochaetochilus calceolus

On the way back to Marulan, I found where there is another species of the "rufa" group, Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis. These plants were quite small, and very hard to find.
Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis
This flower has a different pattern of hairs on the labellum
to the previous species.
Tiny short hairs at the top and bottom of the labellum
and long hairs on the sides.
Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis. Note the short hairs as well as the long ones on the side.


Snail said...

Gosh, Denis, it's lovely to see those expanses of orchids and daisies.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Snail.
The Country cemeteries are great places for Orchids.

The local Orchid society has negotiated with the Council to not mow this area for another month, just to allow these plants to set and distribute their seed.
Otherwise, all that seeding potential would be lost.

Nothing happens by accident, as you probably realise.