Tag Archives: pink fingers

An Orchid Survey at Halbury

Today I took part in a survey of an endangered population of Oligochaetochilus lepidus (Halbury Greenhood).  The area had been surveyed three years previously and the first task today was to find and mark the 20 metre grid.  We then went through and marked all of the plants in flower with little coloured flags.  There were two other species.  Oligochaetochilus pusillus (Small Rusty-hood) was smaller and had blunt reddish tips on the sepals.  Oligochaetochilus aff. excelsa (Dryland Greenhood) had much larger rosettes, thicker stems and was only in early bud stage.  Oligochaetochilus lepidus was almost all out in flower and had distinctive thin tips to the sepals.

Oligochaetochilus lepidus

After lunch I found a path of Oligochaetochilus lepidus.  After marking all that I could find I thought I should count them.  There were 45 in an area little more than a metre square.

Oligochaetochilus lepidus

After an initial search, a final search was done in each quadrat.  Then all of the coloured flags were collected and counted and a figure recorded for each quadrat.  I expect the results will show that there were several hundred plants in this 3 hectare area of mallee remnant vegetation.

This was an example of a citizen science project led by a botanist with ten others involved.

While there I took an interest in the other orchids: there was a population of several flowering Arachnorchis tensa (Inland Green-comb Spider-orchid) and a couple of colonies of Diplodium robustum (Large Shell-orchid) with flowers almost all finished.  There was also a scattering of plants of one of the Hymenochilus muticus group; it appears to be Hymenochilus pisinnus (Tiny Shell Orchid).  There were two bright pink Petalochilus carneus (Pink Fingers) that I found late in the day before driving home for an hour and a half.

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Orchids in the Technological Age

In the last few years, we have seen some incredible developments in technology, particularly with electronics and multi-media devices.  For instant, walk down a street, and how many people will you see either listening to music from on ipod, or looking down at their smart phone.  How many of you are reading this on a phone?  So there have been some massive changes, and these can be used to help us appreciate orchids, either through photography or identification.

There are plenty of advantages coming from this technological development.  I’ve seen people ask the identification of some orchid they found, and instead of printing the photograph, they just leave it on their tablet or phone.  It certainly saves on paper.  Another outcome is that field guides, or apps for identification can be on you phone or tablet, so instead of carrying around a library of books, you only need to take a phone.  At present, I have four orchid books on my phone, and can check the identification and know straight away what I have found!  I think it is great.

Glossodia major ~ Purple Cockatoo Orchid

I have been amazed at the quality of the pictures that my phone takes.  For those wondering, my phone is the Samsung Galaxy S2, and it has an eight megapixel camera.  I still have to coax it to get the macro shots in focus, but I tend to use my hand to focus, and  then remove my hand away when I take the picture.  However I still have to do that with my compact digital.  Since I bought my phone, I’ve found myself using it as my primary camera, partly because it is so much easier to see the phone screen in the sunlight than my camera screen.

Arachnorchis tentaculata ~ King Spider Orchid

Now, the smart phones also come with GPS.  I have not experimented much with this, but I suspect it may not be as good as some of the GPSs that are on the market.  This is probably an area that still needs to be worked on, but there’s potential.

Petochilus carnea ~ Pink Fingers

You might be interested that all the pictures on this post were taken with my phone.  None of the pictures have been edited.  I still take out the compact digital camera if I am planning to video orchids (phone tends to focus on background rather than flower when filming) or if I need to use optical zoom.