Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, December 30, 2011

Orchid seed as fine as dust.

Today I was showing my friends Owen and Cathryn, and Helen some of the early summer Orchids of Kangaloon. We were accompanied by Cathryn's brother, David and his wife Merle, visitors from Canberra. We had a good fun time  looking for Orchids and other bits and pieces.

There is much of interest about in Kangaloon, (and not just Orchids, you will be pleased to hear). Some of the Orchids are just starting to flower, and some are still hanging around (from Springtime).

Seeds of Thelymitra (Sun Orchids) are as fine as dust
They are wind blown when the capsule is ready to shed.
In this case we experimented by flicking the ripe seed pod.
My photographic assistant counted down 3, 2,1, go.
I took the shot, with a flash, to illuminate the seeds.
Click to enlarge - to see the Orchid seeds better.

I found this Hairy Caterpillar (probably a "Wooly Bear" Caterpillar)
feeding on the leaves of a Hardenbergia violacea (False Sarsparilla)

Head-on view of the "Wooly Bear" caterpillar

Side-on view. Long hairs can cause skin irritation. Two red mites.
We found this Jewel Beetle feeding on 
a low-growing Leptospermum plant
on the edge of Butler's Swamp.
These Beetles love Leptospermum flowers.
As Beetles go this is quite large, flat, and very peaceful.
About 40mm long.
Stigmodera macularia Jewel Beetle
 I like this front on view..
Nice large eyes.
Its eyes look a bit "Possum-like", to me.
From the side.
Jewel Beetle - from the side. Stigmodera macularia
  • Corunastylis densa (a tiny Midge Orchid), cherry-red in colour - first found in Kangaloon, 16 January 2011.
Corunastylis densa (Kirsten Vine photo)
Cryptostylis leptochila - red velvety labellum with scent glands visible
The way the labellum curves back at the top is typical of this species.
Cryptostylis leptochila - side on view. Labellum reflexed at top.
  • Hyacinth Orchids - Dipodium punctata and/or roseum (Kirkland Road) - just starting (Shown yesterday)
  • Hyacinth Orchids - Dipodium roseum (definite) at Meryla Pass Rd (on plateau at top end of Griffin's Fire Trail, near Bundanoon Creek - accessed via Fitzroy Falls Rd (Nowra Rd). (Shown yesterday).
  • Microtis unifolia, tall Onion Orchids growing amongst Daviesia (Bitter Pea) shrubbery.
Microtis unifolia "Common Onion Orchid"
  • Caleana major (Flying Duck Orchid) (some still in flower at Butlers Swamp - dry part, near car park - not in the swampy bit).
  • It is one of my favourite Orchids. A good one, like this, always makes me giggle.
  •  Gastrodium sp. (Kirkland Road colony) have just a few flowers remaining. Huge seed setting has occurred.
Huge number of seeds set in this colony of Potato Orchids.
Close-up of swollen capsules on Gastrodium sp.
  • Prasophyllum flavum (one fresh flower) on Tourist Road, in dense cover, growing amongst the Hop Bitter Pea (Daviesia latifolia). I also found 4 more yesterday near Hindmarsh Lookout, (near Belmore Falls).

Prasophyllum flavum (Yellow Leek Orchid) 



mick said...

A lovely series of orchids and the photo of the seeds is fascinating. Happy New Year to you too, Denis.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick.
Best wishes for you in the New Year, too.

Flabmeister said...

Excellent stuff Denis. Let us hope that all those orchid seeds germinate although in reality probably some proportion such as 1 per 100,000 achieve that!

WRT the head on shot of the jewel Beetle it did confuse me (not a hard task these days) momentarily into thinking it was some form of glider!


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Well, with that many seeds, they are obviously expecting a vast failure rate.
Can you imagine us all walking knee high in Sun Orchids?
Yes, I was taken by the eyes too.
Have a good New Year, Martin and Frances.

Snail said...

What a lovely collection of plants and insects, Denis. Such a lot to see. I must say, I rather like the image of walking through a meadow of sun orchids.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a delightful day Denis. I am very excited by my Caleana photos but I wasn't so clever at capturing the Thelymitra seeds - wonderful photo!
Happy New Year.

Denis Wilson said...

Over on Facebook, Margaret Morgan added the following comment:
"Orchid seeds have no endosperm to provide nutrients for the seed to develop, which is why they are reliant on fungal symbionts to germinate and grow.
Excellent photo, Denis!"
Very succinct explanation from Margaret about how Orchid seeds can afford to be so small.
It also marks the "high risk strategy" which Martin addressed in his comments.
Huge production, but huge losses.
Thanks all.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Helen.
Good to see you pop up here.
The feedback is good.
Glad you got some nice images of the Flying Ducks.
Yes, I was tired.
Tired but happy.
The best way to be.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Snail.
That image is as close as I come to being "poetic".
Glad you liked it.