Tag Archives: Lilies

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.

IMG_20140620_093746

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.

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Orchids and more

I’ve been fairly busy this past week so I have not had much time to prepare today’s post.  Consequently I will be just showing you a few pictures, again taken with my phone.  This was from a site in the Adelaide Hills which is actually currently for sale.  The site was of reasonable quality with not many weeds, and quite a few species of orchids.

Microtis arenicola – Notched Onion Orchid

Thelymitra juncifolia – Spotted Sun Orchid
Wanting a bit warmer day to open

Not an orchid, but a chocolate lily

This is not an orchid, but I’m sure someone from my audience can tell me what it is, but I think it is really pretty to look at.

A field of Bulbine lilies.

Fascinating Plants

“Lilies that smell like chocolate and orchids that bloom underground are some of Adelaide’s most fascinating plants…” so begins the newspaper report (Advertiser,18th May 2012, page 4).  A catchy sentence and it did catch my attention – particularly the ‘orchids that bloom underground’.

There are orchids that bloom underground and they are unique to Australia.  So far they have definitely been found in Western Australia and New South Wales.  Based upon the interstate information, it doesn’t appear likely that there would have been underground orchid on the Adelaide Plains but there are many other places in South Australia with similar habitat to the interstate species.  This then begs the question – did they or do they occur in South Australia?

Now for a further question, has anyone seen or have knowledge of an underground orchid sighting in South Australia?  If you do have any information, contact the Native Orchid Society of South Australia (NOSSA)

Now back to that catchy sentence.  There are many fascinating orchids that were on the Adelaide Plains and perhaps the opening sentence could have read Lilies that smell like chocolate and orchids that have beards