Author Archives: Louise

The Fire Danger season is over

Or is it?

Fire Danger

April 30 marks the official end of the Fire Danger season.  That means that after May 1, farmers and landowners can do burn-offs, before the rains come.  Principally, control burns are for fuel reduction.

Controlled burns don’t always stay within prescribed limits.  Sometimes, they get out of hand.  Even this week, I have heard of a couple of fires getting out of control.  Of course, they are nothing like the bushfires we have in summer, but they are still a threat.  The fire danger season is not over.

Some Australian native plants need fire to reproduce but the fire needs to be at the right time of the year which happens to be our fire danger season.

Fires in autumn, winter and spring can be dangerous for our native plants, including the orchids.  The Fire Orchid (Pyrorchis nigricans) is one orchid that needs fire in order to flower.  It is quite common with its leaves appearing every year but with only the occasional flower.  It will not flower unless there has been a fire the previous year.  However, the fire has to be in summer while the plants are dormant.  In winter, a controlled burn can destroy the leaves and the whole plant.

Pyrorchis nigricans

Another flower that improves with summer fires are the Prasophyllums.  By improve, I mean they have a striking black stem instead of the standard green stem.

Prasophyllum elatum

Prasophyllum elatum

Leptoceras menziesii produces more flowers after a summer fire.  This seems to be a general trend among the orchids and other Australian flowers.

Leptoceras menziesii

However that being said, there is a lot we don’t understand and don’t know about fire regimes and the Australian bush.

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.

A Day At The Office . . .

This might be off topic, but I think it is still related to orchids, in a way.  I was going to do something on underground orchids but I have to leave that for a later post.  And I am planning to do some posts on the habitat of orchids and the ecosystems that they are found in.  But this will have to suffice for now.

Earlier this week, Trees For Life had little visitors in the office, some furry ones, a feathered one and some reptilian ones, namely a goanna, a couple of carpet pythons Continue reading

Orchids & Technology

Here is a new way of displaying photographs of orchids.

The tablet was an iPad while the two phones were both Samsung Galaxy S2.

At meetings of the Native Orchid Society of South Australia, the members have a picture competition (shown on the side).

On this particular evening, the usual photograhs were joined by some technology, the iPad and the Galaxy S2s.  The iPad stayed for the competition but the phones ran away.  The iPad then forgot it was supposed to be competing and went to sleep so it didn’t get any votes.

Away From The Field . . .

Orchids do not just appear in the field.  Or should I say, in the wild?  Anyway, orchids can be found closer to home.

I found these old photographs I had taken at an orchid show back in 2007.  They are examples of floral arrangements done with orchids.  They were classsed as Floral Art Arrangements.

The first one is a shoulder spray while the last two are restaurant table centrepieces.  I thought they were very pretty.

Orchids in Swamps

Orchids grow in swamps.

At least, they do in South Australia and I have no doubt they do in other parts of the world.  Most orchids love water.  And there are at least three very different orchids that refuse to grow anywhere else beside swamps.

First is the Moose Orchid.

Then there is the Spiral Orchid.

The Spiral Orchid comes in a white variety as well as pink.

And there is also a little Sun Orchid.

Orchids without Leaves

Some orchids have no leaves at all.  They depend entirely on fungi to grow.

Below are two such orchids.  The first is a Hyacinth Orchid, of which there are a few.  One is very common, flowering throughout the Adelaide Hills during the summer months.  There is a rarer Hyacinth Orchid, a spotted Hyacinth Orchid, which similar in appearance but a different species.  The common Hyacinth Orchid is the one shown below.

The Hyacinth Orchid is so named because of its resemblance to the hyacinth flowers.  Both the common and the spotted varieties of the Hyacinth Orchid flower at Christmas time.

Then there is the Cinnamon Bells, or the Potato Orchid.  It is rare like the spotted Hyacinth Orchid.  Cinnamon Bells is a very appropriate name with its cinnamon coloured bell like flowers as well as its scent.