Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, September 23, 2013

Petalochilus mentiens - reappears

My Orchid colleague, and friend, Alan Stephenson has told me about having found Petalochilus mentiens, "Lesser Fingers" Orchid at the very top of the Shoalhaven ridge, beyond Sassafras. Yesterday, we went to this spot, in search of those Orchids and some others,

In fact we found Pet. mentiens lower down on the Shoalhaven ridge, on Wandean Road, in an area which had been burnt out badly in autumn, by the so-called Dean's Gap Fire (which was no-where near Dean's Gap - but that's another story).

I have also seen Pet. mentiens, but in Kangaloon, near Robertson. But I looked for them last week, without success. But it is always fun searching for something one seldom finds.

We were on a slashed easement under some Power Lines, crossing Wandean Road.
The first things we saw were:
  1. Masses of Patersonia sericea - the best display I have ever seen.
  2. Prasophyllum elatum (which has a reputation for flowering after a burn-off)
  3. Prasophyllum sp. nov AS (which also grows on Tourist Road, Kangaloon, but is not yet named)
  4. Petalochilus mentiens (in an area where they have never been reported before)
  5. and finally, what appears to be out-of-season flowers of Genoplesium baueri
  6. Talking about being out of season - Christmas Bells - in flower (some finished) presumably another reaction to the fire. This is totally out of season for this area. In the Shoalhaven they are often found from December to February.
  7. Something "in season" is the Sydney Rock Orchid from Tianjara Falls.

The fact that there had been a hot fire through this area seems to explain the remarkable flowering (of many species) which we saw yesterday. But that is speculation only.

Here are some photos of what we were seeing (just a few).

The most out-of-season flowers
"Christmas Bells"
Blandfordia nobilis

Here is a tiny "Caladenia"
the so-called "Lesser Fingers" Orchid.
Petalochilus mentiens

Possible Genoplesium baueri
These flowers were closed.
Had they already opened and been pollinated?
Some almost certainly, but
it is possible some are yet still to open.
One needs to see the flower
to know exactly what they are.

This is a real puzzle.
It has a long leaf (unlike Genoplesium baueri)
So, it is probably a Corunastylis species.
An as-yet un-named Leek Orchid
Prasophyllum sp. nov. AS
These plants may be the same species as
are found at Kangaloon.
They have been named as
Prasophyllum appendiculatum
but there is some puzzlement about that ID.

Patersonia sericea

Sydney Rock Orchids growing
below the lookout at Tianjara Falls
I love this place.

Tianjara Falls is associated with
one of my oldest and sweetest memories
of bird banding trips here in the early 1960s.
The area was burnt out totally by a huge fire
which burnt from Marulan to the
Princes Highway south from Nowra

Zoomed image of the waterfall
Tianjara Falls

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