Christmas Bells

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Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis
Showing posts with label Diuris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diuris. Show all posts

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Penrose. Tallong and Bungonia.

The ANOS Illawarra group normally does a "Southern Highlands Tour" on the last weekend in October. Several of us (me, Kirsten and Bruce from the Central Coast) did the Robertson and Kangaloon sections last weekend. Today I did the rest of the circuit by myself.

I had hoped to find masses of Sun Orchids at Penrose, but the weather was not in my favour. But there were many Beard Orchids out (Calochilus platychilus). The Purplish Beard Orchid (formerly known as Calochilus robertsonii)
Calochilus platychilus
At Penrose State Forest I saw many of the lovely lilac coloured Diuris punctata (the so-called Purple Donkey Orchid). Then, I went on to Tallong and found masses of en even taller, larger flowered form of this species. They were growing amongst masses of the large yellow-flowered Daisies, Podolepis hieracioides.
Lilac coloured Diuris punctata and Podolepsis daisies.
 In a closer shot you can see the masses of Diuris.
Diuris punctata amongst the Podolepsis daisies.
Here is one of the large-flowered Diuris punctata
Diuris punctata - lilac form.
Here you can see a Beetle which is busy eating the Diuris flower.
Beetle on the Diuris punctata flower
I then went further south to Bungonia State Conservation Area. I spoke with Audrey, the Ranger there, and showed her some of my photos of the Orchid I had gone to find. This plant is in the "rufa" group of plants formerly known as Greenhoods. These days it is known as Oligochaetochilus calceolus. It is endemic to the limestone country around Bungonia. Its specific name refers to its liking for limestone-based soils.
Oligochaetochilus calceolus - labellum has been triggered closed
 The Labellum of this plant has long fine "spikes" (trichomes).
The Labellum is movement sensitive, as part of its reproductive function
for the labellum senses if an insect comes to the flower, and
the labellum snaps shut (as in the previous image).
Oligochaetochilus calceolus

On the way back to Marulan, I found where there is another species of the "rufa" group, Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis. These plants were quite small, and very hard to find.
Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis
This flower has a different pattern of hairs on the labellum
to the previous species.
Tiny short hairs at the top and bottom of the labellum
and long hairs on the sides.
Oligochaetochilus aciculiformis. Note the short hairs as well as the long ones on the side.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Robertson Railway Festival and then some unusual Diuris variations,

Yesterday the good burghers of Robertson turned out in numbers for the annual Robertson Heritage Railway Station spring festival.
Of course, the gentlemen from the 
Berrima District Old Machinery Club Inc turned up. 
It wouldn't be a major event in Robbo without them.

Berrima District Old Machinery Club members (many from Robbo)

Miniature Steam Train riders.
And the band played on too.

And what would a Robertson Railway Fair be without Waratahs?
An unusual Waratah cultivar. Possibly "Fire and Brimstone".
After having a Roast Beef Roll, provided buy the RHRS volunteers, using freshly cooked beef from Mauger's Meats at Burrawang, I headed out to Fitzroy Falls, to check on some unusual Diuris which Alan Stephenson and I had found the previous day. 

They turned out to be Diuris chryseopsis
the so-called "Small Snake Orchid" 
(a fairly unfortunate name for a beautiful little Orchid). 
The flower has large "side lobes" on the labellum 
(click on the image to enlarge it)
pointed outwards, flanking the column.
Classic Diuris chryseopsis with fine black line markings
But what about this one?
A relatively tall, heavy flower.
The first of these Diuris plants we found.
 Here it is in close-up.
The "side lobes" on the labellum 
are very different to the previous flower.
They are held vertically, flanking the column.
Diuris with no black markings and really thick callus ridges.
And this one?
Kindly ignore the spots of rain on the petals.
It is a lovely, fresh, clear lemon yellow colour.
Tiny Diuris - without marks, and small "side-lobes", with dark edges.

I have no doubt that all these plants are related.
They are in an isolated community, 
well away from any other known colony of this Diuris.
So logic has it that we are simply looking at individual variations
between plants of the same species.

I conclude they are all Diuris chryseopsis.
I just wish they would not vary from the classic species description
(as per the first Diuris flower shown). 
It makes it hard for the Orchid chasers 
when plants don't follow the "rules".

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Diuris sulphurea, and an odd pure white "Caladenia"

There is a small colony of Diuris sulphurea that I wait for every year, to come into flower. They are right on the roadside verge of Tourist Road, Kangaloon.

Unfortunately, there are only two flowers out yet, and not many coming on. 
It is not looking like a good year for Diuris in the Southern Highlands, at least not yet. 
Maybe it is just our extended cold wet spell which is holding things back a bit? 
Or maybe I am just impatient?
I confess to being reluctant to lie on the ground and get closer photos.
The Tiger Orchids were being guarded by a nest of black "Jack Jumper" Bullants with yellow pincers.
I did the best I could, just stooping over and then moving away quickly, flicking Bullants off my jeans.
Diuris sulphurea - Tiger Orchid

Diuris sulphurea - Tiger Orchid - side view.
Here is another lovely Orchid, which I figure is actually an "alba form", rather than a different species.
I does not have any yellow tips on the "calli"
(the little lumps along the labellum)
nor on the rolled down tip of the labellum.
It retains a hint of green in the solid part of the flower (the Column)
Petalochilus species - an "alba form"?
Side view of "alba form" of Petalochilus species.
This plant was surrounded by a loose group of other Petalochilus fuscatus plants (or so I believe). 

So unless or until I hear otherwise, I shall just call this an "alba form" of Petalochilus (otherwise known as "Caladenia").

Monday, October 03, 2011

Vine Moth on Diuris pardina - the "Leopard Orchid"

On Saturday I went back to Medway to get better images of the Diuris pardina (the Leopard Orchid) flowering over there (as promised).
Diuris pardina - the Leopard Orchid
The first thing I found was a large Day-flying Moth, a Grapevine Moth, (Phalaenoides glycinae) apparently feeding on one of the Orchid flowers. Given the size and position of the Moth, it was attempting to feed, not attempting pseudo-copulation with the Orchid.
Grapevine Moth attempting to feed on the Diuris flower
Here it is in close-up view.
Note how the flower bends over under the
unexpected weight of such a chunky Moth.
Grapevine Moth on Diuris pardina - cropped image

Wings of the Grapevine Moth

Head, legs and body of the Grapevine Moth

Front on view of  Diuris pardina (note the wide lateral lobes)
Side view of Diuris pardina
A different flower of Diuris pardina (note the pointed "lateral lobes")
Diuris pardina - note the fine dots of brown on the rear of the "ears"
Don Herbison-Evans' wonderful moths website has the following note about the Grapevine Moth (which is a pest species in Australia). He says: "The Indian Myna ( Acridotheres tristis ) was introduced into Australia in 1862 to deal with a number of insect pests including the Vine Moth. In this it was unsuccessful, and indeed the bird is now itself a considered a pest in many parts of Australia." 
DJW note: the "Indian Myna" is now known as "Common Myna".

We haven't learnt much about biological control agents, have we?
CSIRO is demonstrating a "blind spot" on this subject, claiming lots of success stories. Presumably they mean their own successes - not claiming success for Biological Pest Controls in general.
No mention of the Cane Toad, or the Indian Myna, or the Gambusia - the mis-named Mosquito Fish which do not eat Mosquito larvae, but which have become a pest of plaque proportions in Australia.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Diuris pardina at Medway.

I went a few weeks ago to a favourite spot at Medway, south-west from Berrima. There were no Orchids in evidence then, alas.

I tried again today, and found lots and lots of Diuris pardina in flower. The little yellow ears were waving everywhere, in the strong wind blowing today.

My Blogging colleague Martin reported on this plant seen at 6-mile TSR, near Bungendore, a few days ago. I have previously seen them at Goulburn, on Governor's Hill.
Diuris pardina from front, and side of  a second flower

Diuris pardina - flat creamy ears, lateral sepals twisted under flower

Note the fine spots on the rear of the "ears" of Diuris pardina
Here is a comparative image of Diuris maculata (left)  
and Diuris pardina (on right).
Diuris maculata and Diuris pardina
Note the clearer yellow colour on D. maculata, and the fewer spots behind the "ears" (see image two-above for that feature).

I have previously posted better images of this species, from Goulburn. I hope to get back there to try to get cleaner photos, on the weekend when the weather improves.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Diuris chryseopsis just starting to flower.

This plant suffers with several bad names. One is "Small Snake Orchid" - who would want to be called that?
The other popular name is "Small Golden Moth Orchid" - that's not much more endearing.
Lets stick with the scientific name - Diuris chryseopsis.

This is a lovely plant with a demure flowering habit - the flowers droop over, unlike the related Donkey Orchids, which hold their "ears" high.

Diuris chryseopsis

Close-up of Diuris chryseopsis

Diuris chryseopsis - often has two flowers per stem
Last year, there were hundreds of this species in flower in this one particular area along Tourist Road, Kangaloon.

But after the flowers had finished, the contractors doing the "slashing" on behalf of the Catchment Authority slashed the area where these hundreds of plants had flowered. So, naturally the seed capsules were damaged or lost, before they had ripened. Hence a whole colony of plants were unable to reproduce that year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mount Rae Greys

My friend Mark Selmes, from Mt Rae forest, between Crookwell and Taralga, NSW often sends me images he has taken of the Grey Kangaroos and/or Wallaroos with whom he shares life in the Mt Rae forest. Tonight I am sharing some of his latest images.

His latest message was: "Pics - wild eastern grey with joey - spending a bit of time out of pouch,but sticking close to Mum."
"La Pieta" (Mt Rae style)
Grey Kangaroo doe with joey
"Watching animals in the wild -especially at play- allows us to observe
qualities we all share
and helps us to realise that we have a common bond.
(even with the most maligned of species)."
Can I climb up, Mum?
Grey Kangaroo youngster feeling frisky.
"Without the world of nature in all its many forms 
we would all be poorer in spirit 
and eventually as natural ecosystems collapse so would our world."

Grey Kangaroo doe showing her pouch opening
"Hope you enjoy the pics, I know I enjoyed taking them."
Cute Joey - thinking up a prank to play on Mum.
My own comment is that Mark is (for his sins) now serving time on the Board of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

I have previously shared with you images of some of the lovely Orchids which Mark has found growing at the Mt Rae Forest, including the endangered Buttercup Doubletail Orchid, Diuris aequalis.

Having seen some of the wild creatures which live in the Mt Rae Forest, I am sure you will agree that their home ought be protected from native forest logging.