Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, April 08, 2013

Surprises where one least expects them

Alan Stephenson sent me a message that a friend of his had pulled their car off the road, on the way back form Moss Vale to Nowra and found some red Greenhood Orchids. Alan identified them as Diplodium coccinum. More to the point, he wanted to know where these plants were, exactly, as these plants are not often seen, and were not known to grow in that area.

I got a message (several actually) suggesting that they were along what is known locally as the Nowra Road, west from Fitzroy Falls. There was a distinctive letterbox nearby.

Armed with that information, it took no time at all to find the plants, once I had driven to the right place.

Scarlet Greenhood - Diplodium coccinum
What was startling to me was that once I started to look, there were literally hundreds of flowers and far more plants (leaf rosettes) than that amongst the grass. They were everywhere in just one hundred metre section of the road. Across the road they were not seen. Further down they were not seen either.

A good example of Orchids growing where they love to grow.

two flowers amongst the grass.

Another nice specimen
The point of my Blog title today is that this road is one which I drive along occasionally, going to look at Orchids elsewhere. Alan has driven this section of road hundreds of times over the years, as his daughter lived in the Highlands at one stage, I understand, and also, it is on his route to just about everywhere from Canberra or points west, as well as the Southern Highlands. It just goes to show that one cannot assume there is nothing to see, just because one doesn't stop to look. In this case, we owe this discovery to an observant traveller's unexpected need to adjust the load on a  trailer.
In deep shade under the pine trees
there were many plants of Acianthus exsertus
 One surprise for me was to find this small "Coastal Greenhood" Diplodium alveatum
Diplodium alveatum
is similar to Diplodium obtusum
The labellum is clearly visible and dark
it has a strongly rolled edge to the "sinus".

Habitat shot

Diplodium coccinum leaf rosettes amongst thistle weeds.
These rosettes had large leaves,
and were quite plastic-looking,
with a deep vein along the mid-line.


Brigid O'Carroll Walsh said...

Loved this story and your comment "A good example of Orchids growing where they love to grow.". Perhaps, it should read "A good example of Orchids thriving where they love to grow." Because all creatures, including humankind, are much the same. We thrive where we love to grow. Give us poor conditions and we want to be outa there!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Brigid
I accept your suggested edit.
I agree with you.