Monday, 17 December 2012

Mystery plant revisited

When ANPS recently ascended the Cypress Pine Lookout Trail we found a mystery plant which was thought to be an orchid.  Following advice from members of the orchid group it seemed likely to be Calochilus saprophyticus.  A member of that group suggested the site be revisited in 2 weeks to see how the plant had developed.

I went back today and should probably have waited a couple of days to get the full 2 weeks!  The plant is still not quite open.  This was the most open bud, and that looks very like a 'beard' emerging so Calochilus seems quite certain.
Here is the total flower, including a few more, less open buds.
 Looking at the total plant there is no indication of significant leaves which confirms C. saprophyticus.
The tallest current  flower stalk was 53cm which is much longer than the 20-35cm quoted in "Field guide to the orchids of the ACT" for this species but the adjacent 'last-year' flower stem was 73cm!  These are much more in line with the stem lengths quoted for C. therophilus but I believe this is probably due to seasonal factors and a good microclimate.

On the way up to this site I noticed 2 well developed spikes of Dipodium punctatum. (Thanks Tony for the correct ID.)
While in the area I had a look round for other orchids but was unsuccessful.  I did find this rather attractive, albeit spiky, foliage ....
  ... and Persoonia is always nice to see.
 In a creek line I noticed some Vanilla Lilies (Arthropodium milleflora).  The tallest flower spike was 1,2m!
 Here is the view back up the creek line (in places the rock shelves were rather more impressive than they appear here).
Back at the Visitor's Centre some Australasian Grebes were raising chicks.  I am always impressed that the chicks look very like small versions of the North American Pied-bill Grebe,

Should anyone else wish to try again I am very happy to give directions!  However I feel that two ascents of that bush-fly ridden track is enough for one season.


Ian Fraser said...

Very exciting! That's one I've never seen - sadly I can't see myself getting up there this week though. Thanks for checking, and for sharing.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Ian. I suspect a week isn't a critical timeline as there are a few other buds nowhere near open.