Tag Archives: Diplodium

Winter at Mt Crawford Forest

To those who have visited the Mt Crawford area from Adelaide are usually left with an impression of an area that is noticeably colder and wetter.  I have had the pleasure of working in the area in the last couple of months and this impression has been reinforced, especially after getting drenched in heavy rain at my last visit.

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I took a picture with my mobile telephone showing the mist around us as we worked.  We were above the cloud base on the edge of a sandstone ridge.  It is easy to keep warm climbing up and down a slope like this.  We were removing feral pines that originated from the adjacent commercial pine plantations and you may be able to see one lying on the left of this image.

Diplodium robustum (12)

On a sunnier day earlier in the month I found a pair of flowers of Diplodium robustum, the Large or Common Shell Orchid.  These were on the ridge next to the Heysen Trail.  These, I am told, are taller than usual for the species and resemble a form that occurs in areas of mallee.

Diplodium robustum (7)

From the back the flowers are strongly striped with green and white.  These flowers were facing south.  Elsewhere there was a colony of about 300 plants with over 30 in flower or bud; the majority of these faced up the slope.  This appears to be a strategy to make it more likely for the flowers to be visited by the insect pollinators.  The pollinators are small insects called fungus gnats, which look like small mosquitoes and don’t eat at all in their adult stage.  Only the males are pollinators and they need to be large enough to trigger the labellum inside the hood of the orchid.

Diplodium robustum (4)

At the base of the two flowers I found these little rosette.  This, surprisingly, is the same species.  This plant will not flower this year; it is preparing to flower in a future year.  There is a smaller flower in the lower left of this picture that I did not notice until I started writing this post.  It looks like a bud almost finished forming.

Wurmbea latifolia (1)

Orchids are not the only interesting flowers.  This is one of my favourite lilies – Wurmbea latifolia ssp. vanessae (Broad-leaf Nancy).  This is a female plant with the dark ovaries seen in the middle of the flower.  The flowers are white with rich, hot pink colours near the centre.  This was the first one I found on the 7th of June.  By the 20th they were easy to find.  I am told that the peak of flowering is mid-July and that earlier flowering this year is a result of climate change.

I am looking forward to visiting the area next weekend and taking more photographs, if the wintery weather lets us.

Morialta’s July Orchids

Diplodium robustum

I’m still getting used to the new camera, but it is nice when the orchids decide to grow in a clump.  I always enjoy taking group pictures of orchids.  The picture above is of some Diplodium robustum also known as the Large Shell Orchid.  When identifying this species I get confused as it is not always clear with species is which.  So this next picture I’ll just leave as Diplodium sp., though it could be a D. robustum.

Diplodium sp

Below is a picture of a spider orchid leaf, most likely Arachnorchis tentaculata.  I love the texture from the water droplets caught on the hairs of the leaves.

Arachnorchis leaf

That is all for today.  Enjoy your weekend.

Flowering now

During the week I was able to check up and see what some of our South Australian orchids were doing.

The leaves of Cyrtostylis reniformus were up with a couple of early buds just beginning to appear.  I like the stripes on the leaves and the colour of them.  They are very distinctive.  This is the later flower of the two species of Cyrtostylis with the earlier being Cyrtostylis robusta.

A finished captual of Diplodium robustum.  This is where the seed will form.  They were still all facing the hillside.

A nice little colony of Diplodium robustum.  Note the leaves at the base, as these are the same species, but will not flower this year.

An Urochilus sanguineus out in flower.

The Veined Helmet Orchids, Corysanthes diemenica were only just opening.  Many were still in bud.

Facing away

Diplodium sp.- Shell Orchid

In this post, I will be dealing with Diplodium robustum, Diplodium sp. Adelaide Hills, and the hybrid the occurs from both.  These plants flower between May and August.

The plants of this species will either have a small rosette of leaves or a flower with leaves growing from the stem.  These orchids tends to form large colonies, but only 10% will flower.  An interesting observation is that these flowers will grow facing the slope.  It could be that this is where the pollinator will come from.  The reason is not known, but it does make it hard to photograph the front of the flower.

All the flowers are facing in one direction.
Note the little rosettes around the plants

Another example of the flowers all facing the banking

The two parent species of Diplodium are determined by the length of the spike on the end of the dorsal sepal.  D. robustum has long spike and is pictured below, left.  D. sp. Adelaide Hills has a short spike and is pictured below, right.  The hybrids are more likely to finish flowering before their parent plants.

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