Monthly Archives: April 2013

OrchidNotes is One Year Old!

Last year, Helen and I started OrchidNotes, more as an experiment to see what we could do with a website.  She knows more about orchids than I do, and she has more opportunities to go out in the field and see them.

This past week, we made several changes.  We have a new icon.  We have a new theme.  (Did you notice? )  And we now have a Facebook page.  We also have a Google+ page, OrchidNotesAustralia.

Our first post went public on 26 April 2012.  That being said, it was simply an ordinary welcome.  But we have a few curiosities from those early days.

We also have a couple of posts featuring Australian animals, which is always popular

Helen has a few posts on photography that are wothwhile reading

Also check out the other pages on OrchidNotes.  Here are a few I recommend:

Also have look at External Links for other websites on orchids.

This year, we welcomed new blogger, Robert Lawrence, author of Start With The Leaves, an orchid field guide.  We are hoping to have more writers soon.

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Lurking in the background

As of yet the weed orchid Disa bractreata has not featured on this site, even though it is the orchid I’ve seen the most this year. It is a terrestrial orchid from South Africa and colonizes very quickly.

83b Disa bracteata (17)

Many orchid enthusiasts try to dig them up. This is because their flower spikes produce thousands of very fine seeds that propagate very easily, and take over areas in a couple of years if not controlled. Understandably many try to remove them when on walks looking for native orchids.

So if you want to weed this plant, make sure you have the right plant. Remember that it is illegal to collect any part of any native orchid within Australia, so know what you are dealing with first. These plants are very tough, which is not surprising considering they are a desert plant. I’ve been told that a flower spikes will continue to produce seeds after being dug up. To give an example of how tough these plants are, some plants were up rooted one week ago, placed in a plastic bag and are still continuing to grow.

Disa bractreata

Orchids still growing after one week in a bag

If you do want to weed it, remember to remove the whole plant from the site including the tubers. From there it is best to place them is a plastic bag to cook in the sun.

Disa bractreata

I have not concerned myself about removing these plants as I suspect they may do some good, but it is only a personal theory at the moment that has not been tested yet.  There was a fairly weedy and disturbed site I know about. There were a couple of shrubs and mostly a lot of this weed. It was like this for some time, but over the last couple ofyears, there has been a rapid decrease in the number of weeds and all of a sudden there are lots of sun orchids, Thelymitra, growing there. Maybe the weedy orchids prepared the soil so that the native orchids could grow there. It would be interesting if research was conducted in this area. Have you ever had any experience with this orchid? I would love to hear about it.

Thelymitra sp

One of the Thelymitra that has appeared recently

Where are they?

So the last two weekends, I’ve been able to go orchid hunting, but… where are all the orchids?  It has been partly because I’m a bit early for some, and I’ve not been at the right places.  Anyway, it was still nice to get out.

Scenery

Sadly the sun also seemed to be hiding.

I did manage to find some orchid leaves of a green-hood.  They were very, very tiny, but still there.

Pterostylis

And I know you all would have been very disappointed if I did not show you that I saw a koala, even if they are an introduced species in the Adelaide Hills.  It is not easy photographing objects high up in trees.

Koala

Hopefully next orchid search is more successful, and I can post some pictures of Eriochilus cucullatus, Parson’s band.  ‘Til then …….

Gold Hunting

Last weekend, I visited some gold mines in the Adelaide Hills.  I was at a recreation park, and many visitors were there with pick and shovel, and a few even had fancy detectors.  Most did not appear to be very successful in finding gold, which is not surprising considering the site has had thousands of visitors over many years since the mines were closed.

Was I successful?

Well I didn’t find any gold, nor looked for any gold, but I did find some gems.  Yes, those wonderful little orchids are up and flowering already, although not many.  I found some Corunastylis sp. also known as the midge orchid.  These plants are so, so tiny, with the whole plant standing under ten centimetres or three inches,  The flowers can’t really be appreciated unless seen under a microscope, or in a picture.  Unfortunately my camera has been struggling a bit with focusing (and they are too small for my phone camera), so sorry for things being slightly blurry.

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

Corunastylis

At another site I saw some Eriochilus cucullatus, Parson’s band.  Unfortunately they were not flowering at the time.  Again these plants are still very small, and it can make it very hard to find them.  They have a small white flower.

Eriochilus cucullatus

It wasn’t until I reached home that I realized I had photographed three plants at once (there are three in the picture!).  In this species the leaves do not emerge until after the flowers.