Category Archives: Off topic

More than orchids

Orchid hunting is not all about finding the most interesting, rarest and amazing orchids.  It’s an opportunity to immerse myself in the bush, and relax.  There are many beautiful things to see and enjoy.  Recently I saw this Egret with its mating plumage.

Egret

The bush has many beautiful and amazing areas that are such a pleasure to see.  Below are a few pictures of the patterns created by the trees.

DSC02953Sometimes I am fast enough to capture birds, but since most of the time I have the macro lens on, that is not very possible.

Misitlo birdThere are some days when I return home to look through my pictures and find something unexpected such as a mosquito captured in frame!

Jonesiopsis

Orchids are beautiful but there are so many other surprises in the bush that are waiting to be found.

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100th post: Questions and Answers

Wow, 100 posts, and I was never keen on writing those English essays!  So as promised this post will be a Questions and Answer post, and thank you to everyone who submitted a questions.  They are good questions and I will try my best to answer them.

Do Australian Orchids have one season?

In Australia one or more orchid species will be flowering at any given time of the year.  Currently our summer orchids are in flower, although many of the summer orchids actually grow in swamps and thus are rare.

The moose orchid only grows in swamps in South Australia and flowers

The moose orchid only grows in swamps in South Australia and flowers between November to April

As I was curious as to the number of species flower per month, I took all the species that grow in South Australia and plotted them for each region.  In the northern parts of South Australia due to desert there are only one or two species present, which tend to flower in spring.  However in the southern, wetter regions, there is more likelihood of finding an orchid in flower any time of the year.  From the averages of all the regions it can be seen that the peak in the orchid season is at September to October (the beginning of Spring).

The number of species flowering per region

The number of species flowering per region – Click on image to enlarge

As a keen photographer, I would love to know – in a general sense – where you find a lot of your orchids?

Generally I don’t say where I find orchids partly because some of the sites that I visit are sensitive and it is not wise to have a large number of people visiting the locations.  Also with some of the rarer species, in particular the Duck Orchid, are prone to digging because people do not realize how difficult they are to grow.  No one, not even the experts have been able to grow it.  It is also illegal to take any plant (even picked flowers or capsules) from the wild without a licence.

The duck orchids can not be grown

The duck orchids can not be grown

However there are a lot of locations were you can find orchids.  Where there is native habitat in good condition, there should be orchids.  These include the Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens (I was up there last Saturday and Dipodium are still flower – even some in bud!), Morialta Conservation Park (take the track on the left to the second falls as it has numerous winter/spring orchids growing along the edge), anywhere in Belair National Park which is a hive for orchids and actually has a few rarer species growing there.  There are many other locations in the Adelaide Hills where they can be found.  Pretty much it comes down to having quick eyes and knowing what habitat the different orchids like.  Anywhere where there are few weeds, there will generally be orchids growing.

A really good way to discover more locations and orchid species is to join an orchid club and go on an excursion with others.  I personally would recommend the Native Orchid Society of South Australia, but have I mentioned that I am their Assistant Editor?!

Arachnorchis tentaculata

The King Spider orchid – Arachnorchis tentaculata – found at Scott Creek Conservation Park

There has been a fire in the Belair National Park, is it likely that there will be a flush of orchids in the fire location come Winter/Spring?

Fire and orchids is such a complex topic.  For those who aren’t local there was a bush fire which occurred a couple of weeks ago in a national park pretty close to the city of Adelaide.  This coming season I would expect to see more orchids flower in that area, in particular the fire orchid.  I will be checking it out later this year to see what happens.  I’ve written about orchids and fire previously.

However there are long term effects of fire that are still being researched.  The following article is highly recommended reading:

Black Saturday Victoria 2009 – Natural values fire recovery program by Mike Duncan

Why some orchids have the trigger mechanism and some don’t?

What a lovely questions – I wish I knew the answer!  There are a number of species that have labellums that can move, from Pterostylis which flowers in the winter to the Duck Orchids which flower in late spring.  They all have different pollinators and the flowers look different.  The trigger mechanism is just one method for being pollinated.  Other orchids use different methods such as imitating a female insect or imitating another flower.  This article could be of interest:

Notes on the Anthecology of Pterostylis curta (Orchidaceae) by Peter Bernhardt

The labellum of the Bunochilus viriosous (also known as Pterostylis viriosous) can be triggered. Photographed in Hardy Scrub

The labellum of the Bunochilus viriosous (also known as Pterostylis viriosous) can be triggered.
Photographed in Hardy Scrub

What is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is…             [unable to compute]

Thank you everyone for your questions.  I learnt a few things from writing this post and I hope you did to.  Orchids are so complex and amazing!

Announcement!

Greetings everyone!  My next post will be my 100th, so I planning on doing something different: a questions and answer post.  I’m welcoming questions on a variety of topics: from anything on orchids to about OrchidNotes.  My aim is that it will be an interactive post, where hopefully we can have some interesting discussions.  I have not done this before, so I hope it works out!!

You can submit your questions a variety of ways: write them in the comments below or through the Contact us page, or any of the social media, Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.  I’m really looking forward to this.  It would be good if I could receive your questions by 21st February.

Jonesiopsis

Victorian Orchids

South Australia is the only state in Australia that does not have any epiphytic orchids.  Our state is the driest state in Australia and does not have any rainforests that could offer a suitable condition for them.  So here is a video about some orchids that grow across the border in Victoria.

Looking towards 2014

DSC029042013 was quite a fun year, and saw OrchidNotes first year anniversary in April at about 100 subscribers and in June we hit 10,000 views.  By the end of the year, both those figures had more than doubled.

WordPress has put together a summary of the statistics for OrchidNotes.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete 2013 report.  If you like, you can compare it with the 2012 report.  It’s so exciting to see this website growing.

And as a teaser, my next post will be about Dipodiums.  I’ll hear from you then.

I’m excited

I have a new camera, or rather my family has a new camera.  It is a Sony Alpha 58, and it came with four different lenses.  So I’m really looking forward to going out into the bush and shooting with it.  However today it was raining…

Rain

… so that meant today would not have been a good day to look for orchids.  Any way, I’ve been having fun walking through our garden at home, and taking pictures so that I can get a feel as to how this camera works and behaves.  I’ve been enjoying manual focus, which was not practical on compact digital cameras.

Grevillea superb

The above picture of Grevillea superb and below I shot using the macro lens, while for the rain shot I actually used a telescopic lens.

what should I call this picture?

Since this is OrchidNotes, I should probably be talking about orchids.  Here is a short video that my brother, Joseph, made.  He filmed before we bought the new camera.  Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good weekend.

Orchid hunting

When I go looking for orchids, it is not just the flowers I remember.  I remember the feel of the place, and other little discoveries that were made on the trip

Some of the places that I visit are beautiful, and they just make you want to stop and have a good look at them.  There are a few places that I visit that are off the well trodden track, and these tracks leave the evidence on the car.

Sometimes it is not always possible to find the orchids, but usually there are some other surprises that turn up.  Quite often, the birds will be active.