Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Caveat osservatore-orchidaceae: Let the Orchid observer beware

This is for Colin Rowan who kindly rang me several days ago, to inquire as to my well-being, because he had noticed it was a long time since I had written anything on my Blog. Thanks, Colin. As it happened, I was at that very time, checking out Colin and Mischa's photos of Orchids, in response to an inquiry from a Canberra naturalist who had just returned from the Blue Mountains. Such is the world of Orchid enthusiasts - we share information, and ask for help or guidance when we are unsure. That's what I like about fellow Orchid enthusiasts.
Not all naturalists share their information - but the best ones to know are those who do share information.

Caveat osservatore-orchidaceae: Let the Orchid observer beware.

Caveat osservatore-orchidaceae:
Let the Orchid observer beware.
Early this Spring I was surprised to notice a tight cluster of vertical stems, which were obviously Orchids. I saw them in the gleam of my headlights, as I rounded one of the tight corners on Barrengarry Mtn (above Kangaroo Valley). I drove to the top of the mountain and safely did a U-turn, drove back, parked on the opposite side of the road, and safely checked the Orchids. It was a colony of Pterostylis erecta. At night it is easy to know if there is any traffic coming up Barrengary Mountain, so I could inspect these plants from the relative safety of the road, at night..

The reason I was able to spot these orchids at night  was that they were growing at headlight height, on the excavated side of the road verge. So I saw lots of fine white stems. In daylight, they did not stand out.

I subsequently saw a similar colony (many actually) growing along the excavated edges of Macquarie Pass. Those were a mixed group of Pt. curta, Pt. erecta and Pt. nutans. Some appeared to be hybrids (as one would expect with so many related Orchids growing tightly together).

Orchid colony on edge of Macquarie Pass roadway,
The worst part about trying to study these plants, at close range, is that there is little or no safe walking edge to the roadway.Macquarie Pass is so busy that, even at night, one cannot walk on the road - not safely anyway. There is very little room for walking beside the road, in the tighter corners of that road. Where there are "safety rails" there is in fact no spare room to walk safely.

Hence this warning: 
Caveat osservatore-orchidaceae: Let the Orchid observer beware.

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