Monday, 22 September 2014

Blue Fingers go, Wax Lips come

This is not a post about certain "entertainers" body enhancement practices but a slight changing of the guard in our Carwoola orchid joys.  I have used vernacular names as it led in to that witticism (and they, unusually, seem to be more stable and agreed than the Latin)!

The first orchids to appear this year, as I have posted in the past were Cyanicula caerulea (Blue Fingers).

I first noticed one in an area I refer to as the "main colony" on 30 August.  This first chart shows the rise and fall of numbers of flowers I counted in that colony.  Note that I wasn't able to count every day.
This colony is at 790m AMSL and as such very close to the limit of altitude for the species cited in The Book.  One neighbour (on whose property about 10% of this colony appears) was interested as to why that is the only occurrence on their block of about 22Ha.  Another neighbour, very plant aware, and about 500m away in a straight line, has commented that the only get isolated plants.

I subsequently found two other colonies.  One was quite near - about 25m from the main colony - while the other was about 200m horizontally and at least 10m vertically. Perhaps this latter group were the highest growing specimens in the world?  The chart below shows the number of plants in each colony.
"Soil" quality was similar - equally rotten shale with a bit of leaf mould - in each site.  I also found about 6 plants in isolated spots elsewhere on the property.

However, just as this species shuffles off the radar the Glossodia major has started to get its act into gear.
Here is the whole plant (and an overview of the crappy soil in which they are surviving).
I counted 10 flowers in the core patch today (22 September).  They were all clustered in one part of the site which measures about 11m E-W and 24m N-S.  The shot below shows the site - basically a clump of Kunzea ericoides, interspersed with kangaroo and wombat tracks.
I shall monitor the number of flowers over time in this site - perhaps inventing a sampling strategy to make the counting easier.

I have also noted that those n the Low Country are finding Hymenochilus sp flowers.  Out here on the rock we don't rush things.  Here is the state of play in my Hymenochilus cycnocephala patch.

I reckon we have at least two weeks before triggering labella become an issue.

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