Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, June 25, 2012

A few Orchids from Comerong Island

Last weekend the Illawarra Branch of the Australasian Native Orchid Society went on an excursion to Comerong Island. See the introduction to this post, for location and geographic information about the Island. It was intended to be an Orchid trip, but we found more varieties of Fungi than Orchids (much to the frustration of my friend Colin Rowan).

We saw literally thousands of leaves of Pterostylis curta and some Pterostylis nutans. None were in flower, unfortunately.

However, Alan Stephenson was on a mission to re-locate a group of variegated Pterostylis curta plants which he had seen a few years previously. This required a  bit of walking along one section of track several times until Alan spotted what he was after.

There were a few, not many, of these unusually marked plants.
Such markings are uncommon, but not unknown. Possibly they were originally affected by a virus (as has famously happened with Tulips), but it seems that these plant markings are stable, not variable, nor likely to be an infection, which might otherwise kill these plants off, (or spread to others around them).

Variegated leaves of Pterostylis curta

Variegated leaves of Pterostylis curta
We then photographed some of the hundreds of Helmet Orchids
which were carpeting the ground
along the side of the track.
Corybas fimbriatus, the Fringed Helmet Orchid

Corybas fimbriatus, the Fringed Helmet Orchid

Corybas fimbriatus, the Fringed Helmet Orchid
A colony of them in the sand dunes, in the Littoral Rainforest
We drove along the single lane track which goes the full length of Comerong Island, out to the wharf at Crookhaven River (the redirected Shoalhaven River mouth). The last kilometer of the track had many deep puddles, but they were on solid bases, so, although a little scary (I had visions of cars getting stuck) Alan pressed through quite successfully. Definitely this last bit was 4WD only.
Acianthus fornicatus
This was one of very few in flower, but there
were literally hundreds of leaves of these plants growing
in certain patches of the forest, especially in disturbed areas
(e.g., where NPWS had bulldozed fallen logs
off the road, and into the forest).

Close to where the hundreds of Acianthus were,
we also found a few late blooming Cobra Greenhoods
Pterostylis grandiflora - the Cobra Greenhood
And finally we found a few very bedraggled,
but recognisable specimens of Bunochilus tunstallii
This Bunochilus tunstallii had collapsed,
and the flower had been triggered closed
but I was able to open the flower
to reveal the diagnostic brown labellum.
Bunochilus longifolia has a
cream labellum with a fine dark brown stripe up the middle.

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