Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, August 20, 2012

Orchids at Heathcote corner of Royal NP

The Royal National Park is so large that it is extremely varied with its "treasures". A fellow Orchid enthusiast offered to show me a few places he knows about - just on the edge of the Royal, at Heathcote. Thanks Tony. My photos are not a patch on Tony's, unfortunately.

We started with a small patch of open grassland, beside a track, within walking distance of the Heathcote Railway Station.
Glossodia minor - an early flowering spring Orchid
Here is a Diuris we found flowering - the one and only.
The first Diuris I have seen this year.
Diuris maculata - the Spotted Double-tailed Orchid
Side view of Diuris maculata
the lateral sepals on this species
bend backwards under the flower
From the rear view,
the "ears" of Diuris maculata
show a series of small brown streaks or spots.

We then left that area, and drove to the strangely named "Bottle Forest", just a few kilometres away.

We saw a number of leaves (only) of Pyrorchis nigricans but literally hundreds of leaves of Acianthus species and Corybas/Corysanthes Orchids. Then Tony took me to a place where he knew we could find the dainty Mayfly Orchid, Nemacianthus caudatus We only found one of these tiny flowers, but hey, that's enough to show you why it earns the name of Mayfly Orchid.

Leaf of Pyrorchis nigricans
Note the red margins of the leaf.
These plants are named for
their propensity to flower
the year after the area where they live being burnt.
Clearly not flowering in this area, not this year.

A nice set of fresh leaves of
Pyrorchis nigricans

The dainty Mayfly Orchid,
Nemacianthus caudatus

This Orchid is clearly related to
the more common Acianthus Orchids.

This photo is here to show
how hard these plants are to see
amongst the leaf litter on the forest floor..
Look for the flowers silhouetted
against a dead Gum Leaf.
Nemacianthus caudatus


Flabmeister said...

I am so jealous! We have got a lot of orchid leaves on our block but no flowers that I have been able to find thus far.

The final shot of Nemacianthus caudatus had a nice challenge to spot the flower, even after clicking the image!


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Martin.
Good things come to those who wait.
By the way, the "Rufas" on Governor's Hill, at Goulburn have not budged in the last two weeks (unlike similar plants at Albion Park), so they will be at least 6 weeks away, if not more.
Glad you worked out why I showed that last image, as I was standing over that plant and just saw a few whisps of the sepals, before I realised I had found one.
Their leaves are easy enough to see, but like Acianthus colonies, they have many leaves but few flowers.

J Gray said...

These are beautiful! I keep looking for Orchids at our regenerating patch on the Darling Downs, but have not discovered any as of yet! Thanks for sharing the lovely images.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Judi
If only I was in Qld, I would love to come and help you search for Orchids on your block.
They are actually good "colonisers" and seem to not mind disturbed soils, so they often grow beside roads, etc.
Their seeds are very fine "dust", but they do need to get lucky by forming an association with a suitable fungus in the soil - so Orchids do tend to stick together, where the right kind of fungus exists.
The Spring Orchids tend to be a bit more obvious than the winter-flowering ones.
Look out for Donkey Orchids and Sun Orchids now.
Then Hyacinth Orchids in late spring.
Best of luck.