Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two great days of Orchid-hunting in Shoalhaven

My friends often look at me in surprise when I refer to going looking for Orchids in "Nowra". It really is just that Nowra is a convenient label to use for the district, but some, many of these Orchids are within a few kilometres of Nowra's centre.

Some areas are a bit further out of town, at Callala Bay (on Jervis Bay) and others in the bush between Nowra and the Bay.

The surprise stems from the fact that most people see the forests around Nowra as "wasteland", empty, and of no interest to anybody. How wrong these impressions are can be seen from the following photos taken over the last two days. At this time of year "Nowra" is a treasure-land of orchids.

Dockrillia teretifolia
on Casuarina tree at Callala Bay

Dockrillia teretifolia
on Casuarina tree at Callala Bay

Lovely colony of Glossodia major at Bamerang Powerlines.

Powder-blue coloured
Glossodia major

at Bamerang powerlines

Pure white specimen of
Glossodia major
at Bamerang powerlines

Strikingly beautiful magenta flowered specimen of
Glossodia minor
at Depot Road powerline easement.

Look closely (click on image)
Glossodia flowers everywhere
under and around Alan's feet.

Lyperanthus suaveolens

Diagnostic shot of Lyperanthus suaveolens leaf 
(underneath view).

Petalochilus alatus
side view to show colour inside labellum

Petalochilus alatus
Front on view to show angle of lateral petals
(held out wide)

Petalochilus carneus - possible hybrid
no colour inside
or outside labellum or column
Diagonal view of front.

Petalochilus carneus -
classic colour form

Contrast with image above,
found in same area as this plant.

Petalochilus fuscatus
seen on Depot Road, Nowra

Petalochilus hillmanii
At Myola (Jervis Bay).

It is such a joy, after a long cold winter,
to find these colourful little gems
Petalochilus hillmanii

Another grouping of
Petalochilus hillmanii

A late-season flower of
Petalochilus pictus
which is normally a winter flowerer.
Benton Sands (Jervis Bay)

Possible Petalochilus catenatus
Benton Sands (Jervis Bay)

Possible Petalochilus catenatus
Benton Sands (Jervis Bay)
note the clear throat (of column)

Prasophyllum brevilabre
Coonamia Rd, Culburra
Pterostylis baptistii
Coonamia Rd, Culburra, NSW.
This is a huge flower for a Greenhood.

King Greenhood
Pterostylis baptistii

Juvenile flower of  Pterostylis baptistii
Pterostylis curta
Blunt Greenhood

Colony of mixed Pterostylis curta
and Pt. erecta hybrids

Pterostylis erecta
on Barrengarry Mtn

Pterostylis oblonga
at Myola (beside Currumbene Creek)

Pterostylis oblonga
at Myola (beside Currumbene Creek)

A nice red-brown form of
Pterostylis pedunculata at Culburra.

Rear view of strongly coloured
Pterostylis pedunculata at Culburra.
Note what I refer to as the "fat bottom".

Pyrorchis nigricans
This Orchid gets its botanical name "Fire Orchid"
from the fact that it tends to flower freely
after hot bushfires the previous summer.
these plants had not been burnt,
But they had been mowed down.
Leaves of Pyrorchis nigricans

possible hybrid Thelymitra X irregularis
The colour of the flower indicates a possible hybrid
from Thelymitra ixioides
The classic species is very common
in the powerline easement
at Depot Road, Nowra.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Orchids from Nowra and Cambewarra Mountain

This morning I rang Alan Stephenson to check on the weather in Nowra.
We have had such cold, windy weather in Robbo that I was very uncertain that it was going to be worthwhile making the trip down to the Shoalhaven. But Alan assured me it was warm and sunny,

I am glad I went, for I found a number of interesting Orchids.

Hymenochilus bicolor
Formerly Pterostylis bicolor
Growing in Nowra Cemetery

Prasophyllum elatum
These plants on Leebold Hill
have green leaves and
black flower stems.
The buds are just visible,
They come out creamy colour.

Pterostylis erecta

Speculantha vernalis
This spring flowered species
of Speculantha

is distinct from the regular
summer and autumn flowered species.
Alan Stephenson has persuaded
the Federal Authorities

to list it as Critically Endangered
because it is so highly localised.

The epiphytic form of the
Sydney Rock Orchid
it grows so high in trees on
Cambewarra Mountain

that it is very hard
for me to photograph.

You can just make out
the long flower sprays.

Thelychiton epiphyticus

Dockrillia pugioniformis
Petalochilus alatus
Fairy Caladenia
This tiny Caladenia
is very sweet, but hard to find
and harder to photograph properly.

 An unusual magenta colour form of Glossodia minor

beside a regular colour form on right
Glossodia minor

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Orchids - Flying Ducks and Leek Orchids, as well as Bird Orchids

I have seen and shown these all before, but some things are of interest about these.

Firstly, the Flying Duck Orchids are very early in my experience.
These ones are flowering in an area which National Parks Service managed to burn last year. I have never seen them here before, so put that down as a beneficial side-effect of a "controlled burn".

Flying Duck Orchid
has the best name imaginable.
It is officially Caleana major, named after a Mr Caley,
but Botanical Latin does not allow the letter "Y".

head -on shot of the Flying Duck Orchid.
Its black "beak" is facing you.

the Short-lipped Leek Orchid
Prasophyllum brevilabre
These are also flowering in an area which was burnt
by NPWS.

The rare and endemic Wollongong Bird Orchid
It is not found in Wollongong,
but rather, up on the Budderoo Plateau.
It is described as being located in the general "Knights Hill" area
but as Knights Hill is a basalt intrusion
through the Sandstone Plateau, with rainforest habitat,
even that locator is misleading.
This area is adjacent to the better known Barren Grounds.
As with the Barren Grounds, it is a classic Sandstone heathland habitat.
You can see the white sand grains in the photo.

Another Chiloglottis chlorantha in flower.
The vast majority of these rare plants
on the Budderoo Plateau were burnt last September
But they appear to have survived.
These two flowers were in an unburnt patch.
Some of those which were burnt
are budding up, but the unburnt ones
are flowering much earlier than any burnt ones.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spring is really coming now. Wattles galore, Orchids, everything

recently I have been slack with my Blogging, because there is suddenly too much to keep track of, and too much to enjoy.
Too much to share with you all.
Here are just some of the local treasures.

Epacris calvertiana var calvertiana
An endemic plant, named after
a famous early local botanist
Louisa Atkinson, who married James Calvert.
Hence this plant's name.
There is a pink and white form known as
Epacris calvertiana var versicolor
which was named from
a specimen found at Belmore Falls.
Grevillea patulifolia

This next plant is a tiny-flowered heath
with delicious pink flowers
which, when open are clearly "hairy"
on the inner part of the tube
reflecting the generic name Beard Heath.

Leucopogon fraseri
This next plant has a delicious sweet perfume.
It is a small shrub, a Logania.
Logania albiflora

Two tight-growing Mistletoes on Eucalyptus seiberi

A fabulous specimen of Grass Tree
Xanthorrhoea australis

Boronia microphylla
I love the pungent odour produced
when brushing past these low shrubs
in the bush.
A classic Sydney Sandstone bush-scent experience.

Leaves and flowers of Boronia microphylla

Caustis flexuosa

Leaves of non-flowering Chiloglottis Orchids
growing on a near-vertical mossy bank.

Conospermum tenuifolium
Sprawling Smoke-bush