Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood

Last week I was shown where a group of 
rare Botany Bay Bearded Greenhoods were growing. 
Unfortunately, they were not yet open. 
Today I went back, with Alan Stephenson 
and we found them open. 
So we were able to photograph them successfully.
The extraordinary "bearded labellum" is clearly seen.
The lateral sepals are virtually joined together,
not parallel or flared apart.
In this case the pollinia are clearly visible
within the hood of the flower.
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood
"Pterostylis sp. Botany Bay (A. Bishop J221/1-13) (Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood) is
a terrestrial orchid which grows to about 20 cm tall (Bishop, 1996). The current
distribution is extremely restricted and it is known from only one small disjunct population
on the Kurnell peninsula in Botany Bay National Park in southern Sydney."
And see also the Approved Recovery Plan for this species.

The person who showed me these plants last week was Tony Rodgers, who has an excellent FilckR site, with many, many Orchid photos and some other images as well. His site is  His excellent photos of these plants, from 2010 are located at this site.

Note the crowded leaf structure
around the base of the stem.
which is unusual for Greenhoods
which normally have rosettes, or stem leaves.
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood

These plants are listed as Threatened Species under both the Federal EPBC Act and the NSW Threatened Species legislation.

The note on the NSW Threatened Species page says: "A terrestrial orchid with a slender flowering stem to 20 cm. Leaves are a narrow oval shape, 37 mm long, and 12 mm wide. Up to 12 leaves form a basal rosette that slightly ascends the stem. The flower is solitary and translucent green with dark green veins. 

This is probably my favourite photograph of this species of Greenhood, as it shows the very narrow "waist" in the hood. And the pollinia area clearly visible inside the flower (still awaiting the visit of the appropriate pollinator). 
Seen from very low angle
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood
Another plant, seen from the side.
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood
Another shot which reveals well the
"knob" at the end of the "feathered" labellum.
In fact ts know is not solid,
just tightly packed with short, brown fibres.
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood
Yet another view of these
remarkable and rare Greenhoods
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood

 And here is Alan Stephenson with me today, at the Kurnell heathlands.
You can see how Alan and I both had to get down and dirty, amongst the low heath scrub to photograph these plants.
Hard work, but worth it.
Alan photographing
Botany Bay Bearded Greenhood

Was it all worth it? I believe so.
The walking today was pleasantly warm, and not windy. I am less enthused about last year's effort. I didn't tell you about that, but you can imagine I am sure, seemingly endless walking between dense patches of twiggy heath scrub - where each new patch of heath looks exactly like the last patch you have just searched - in vain.


Similar Species : Pterosylis plumosa (Plumatochilos plumosum)
The species is very similar to Pterostylis plumosa, however (in NSW) P. plumosa is found only on the tablelands and western slopes of NSW and has almost erect flowers which are larger and more robust that those of this species.
Tony Rodgers has comparison photographs of this species with the closely related species from the Little Desert, in Western Victoria.


Ian said...

How lucky are you; what a beautiful orchid and very rare. thanks for posting this one.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Ian.
I was tickled pink to be able to show this.
Several trips, but eventually I was shown where to look, and then managed to find my own way back the following week.
Given the extent of the heathlands at Kurnell, that is not as simple as one might think.
It is a great Orchid.
Love it. Glad you do too.