Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Too hot for Orchids, but the Butterflies were happy.

Alan Stephenson and another Orchid colleague, Kirsten came up to Robbo today, to search for the Elbow Orchid we saw last year, near the Canal at Fitzroy Falls. But, it was so hot and dry, that no self-respecting Orchid wanted to flower for us. We did see some dried capsules of Thelymitras (Sun Orchids) and some seed capsules of probable Calochilus (Bearded Orchids).

The temperature peaked at 31.8 C (according to the Robertson Bush Fire Brigade's Weather Station). I know it has been much hotter elsewhere - but frankly, that's why I chose to live in Robertson.

We did take the opportunity to walk along the "far end" of the East Rim Walk at Fitzroy Falls.
Looking south-west over the Shoalhaven Valley
from the East Rim Walk.
The brownish patch of vegetation
shows where Eucalypts

are growing on a drier section
of the valley slope.
Fifty Shades of Green
Looking into the Rainforest Gully
(Yarrunga Creek)

(below the drier sandstone plateau)
The trees are Coachwood, Sassafras, Pencil Cedars
and some Cabbage Tree Palms
Looking further up the Yarrunga Creek gorge
(below Fitzroy Falls)
Regarding Orchids, my earlier statements were slightly inaccurate. We did see a few poor specimens of Hyacinth Orchids (Dipodium roseum) down on Tourist Road, in Kangaloon.
Dipodium roseum
The only Orchid photographing today.
It had a lovely bright colour,
which was refreshing.

There were a few dried up specimens
of Little Tongue Orchids

which I declined to photograph.


But the Butterflies were rejoicing in the heat. Below Burrawang (beside the Illawarra Highway) there is a patch of Purple Top (a weedy Verbena) which the Cabbage White Butterflies absolutely love to hang out on.
Patch of Purple Top
(Verbena bonariensis)
which is dotted with Cabbage White Butterflies
The field below these Purple Tops
is planted with
"Leafy Turnips" which are a summer
fodder crop for Dairy Cattle.

The connection with the Butterflies is shown in the two names:

Brassica rapa (Linnaeus) is the name of the Turnip.
Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758) - the Cabbage White Butterfly).
The vegetable and the insect were both named by Linnaeus. More importantly they both share the specific name because one is the "Food Plant" of the other.

The adult butterflies are attracted to the flowers of the Purple Tops, but they lay their eggs in the Turnip crop just below the fence, as Turnips are related to Cabbages, and they provide the necessary food for the Caterpillars of these Butterflies.


Flabmeister said...

Butterflies aren't the only things that like forage brassica! Both your lot of Banded Lapwings at Bungendore and those on the Hoskinstown Plain were hanging out in brassica paddocks!


Lillian & Audrey said...

Yea for Fifty Shades of Green :-)