Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Genoplesium baueri - the "Brittle Midge Orchid" - another Endangered Orchid

Today Alan Stephenson rang me to let me know that he had found a few flowering plants of Genoplesium baueri. This plant is closely related to the other Midge Orchids which are better known (now) as Corunastylis. I have posted about several of  these already this season, and hopefully many more will come of the next few weeks.

As this plant is a leafless saprophyte, (no leaves and uses energy from decaying material to grow, instead of using chlorophyll to convert energy from the sun) one can only find it when it is in flower. And then only with difficulty, as the flowers are small, and reddish yellow, so they hardly stand out against dead leaves on the ground.
Genoplesium baueri. as found - over dead leaves

Plus, it is rare, and even if one knows roughly where they are known to occur, one still has to search amongst the grasses, and dead leaves to find a skimpy little plant about 150 mm high.

Best of luck.
Genoplesium baueri. A closer look at the plant "in situ"

Naturally when given the chance to be shown these plants, one jumps at the offer. 
Genoplesium baueri
Jervis Bay - here I come: 
*traffic of holiday period notwithstanding. 
90 minutes later I was there.
Genoplesium baueri a close-up view (camera case as background)
Alan looking for more Genoplesium baueri
We also found three species of Tongue Orchids in this area (in the Heritage Estate).
No wonder Peter Garret moved to protect this area, under the EPBC Act.

Firstly, this is the endangered Cryptostylis hunteriana
We found a few plants on two sites, close by to the site 
where the Genoplesium baueri plants were growing.

Cryptostylis hunteriana - the other "leafless saprophyte" Orchid in this area
Cryptostylis subulata - the Large Tongue Orchid
This is the kind of image I was seeking to get 
It clearly shows the glands underneath the flower
- the things which attract the pollinating wasps.
Underneath view of  Cryptostylis subulata
Cryptostylis erecta - the Bonnet Orchid
Other flowering plants found there include the photogenic
Christmas Bells

Blandfordia nobilis  - Christmas Bells

Thysanotus tuberosus Common Fringe Lily
This next plant is an odd little plant. 
It is a Pratia*** (Not quite), but it does not "fit" the general form of
The leaf shape is wrong. 
Flower colour is much bluer than the normal form.
but as Kirsten keeps telling me,
flower colour is the least significant factor in plant IDs.
a nice little Pratia - possibly Pratia purpurescens
Thanks once again to Alan for the opportunity to see these plants again.
One ought never pass up on this chance.
*** Kirsten has advised me that it is NOT a Pratia, but a Lobelia.
Oh well, I was close.
Both are in the Lobeliaceae
It is Lobelia anceps  (Formerly known as Lobelia alata)
Here is an image of  "Lobelia alata" from the ever-useful Bega Valley "List of Native Plants and Weeds". If you are not familiar with that website, I recommend it for people in coastal NSW, south from Sydney. I suggest you save it as a "favourite" or "bookmark it".

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