Thursday, 5 March 2015

ANPS does Miniscule at Mongarlowe

Note that I would hate the form "Miniscule @ Mongarlowe" since that represents the hijacking of the '@' by disco fiends!

I am particularly keen on Miniscule's manifestation as an animated TV program about invertebrates,  It is also a good word to describe many of the plants we saw today!

As I understand it the catalyst for the outing was a trip by some members of the ACT Orchid group who reported many wonders from the  Mongarlowe Cemetery.  I have visited there before with some success and also fritzed out badly (due to ill-considered acts by the Mongarlowe bush fire people - with a possible assist by Tilly the goat and her strange owner).

Today would count as another success as the RFS hadn't mown the place for a while so hadn't destroyed the orchids,  - although the early weather was a bit dubious .
Tilly was not evident and her apparent domicile (capricile?) looked rather deserted.  (Bulldust was also absent, at least until I started this, so on with the plants, beginning with the orchids).

The first two are Eriochilus cucullatus - in conjunction with a later image these show the range of tones of the flowers.

 They were everywhere, as common as daisies in an English lawn.  In close-up, rather than a quiet parson's bands,  they really remind me of a choleric televangelist ranting!

If the orchidologists cannot identify plants to species I am not going to pronounce, so Speculantha sp. will do for these.
The specialists also seemed a trifle tentative about the genus Corunastylis: there were a lot of them around: mostly seeming to be on (or past) their use-by date.  Any corrections to the names offered below will be welcomed. Some updates have been received courtesy of Tobias who was in the team that visited a few days back.
I start with C. apostasioides. Nope C. oligantha (gone over)
 There were only a couple of these, which were relatively tall flowers and which I have called C. nuda. but which are more likely C. ostrina.
 I will take a punt on C. olignantha for the next lot (which seems to be agreed).   Apart from them being very small the breeze was shifting them around and the sunlight very bright so I had major issues getting them in focus.  Looking at the images shown , imagine what the deleted ones were like (hint: pictures of grass with a fuzzy blob in the foreground!)

This specimen was from the 50kph sign stop.  I suspect (and Tobias agrees) it is C apostasioides again, but was much taller than those in the cemetery.
Monet, eat your heart out  The only justification for this blurry impression is to get Spiranthes australis on the list (see comment above about focus)!
On the other hand Chilglottis reflexa was very cooperative.  There is some debate about this with another guru reckoning it was C trilabra.  Pass.

We had been told that there were Diplodiums coming into flower halfway down the cemetery and a few metres in from the RHS.  So we searched from about 40% of the length to 60% of the length and found nothing.  Thoughts about Tilly circulated.  The a nice clump of Little Dumpies (D. truncatum) was found about 75% of the way down the block!  I guess its all a matter of standard deviations.
At the 50kph sign there were more Eriochilus and Corunastylis and one remnant of a Dipodium sp.
 Thats all the orchids- not a bad haul.   Moving up in the cotyledon count I start with Boronia nana var. hyssopifolia.
Comesperma ericinum
 Comesperma sphaerocarpum
 Patersonia sericea
 Cryptandra amara var. floribunda - I only noticed the open florets when I looked at the image on my 'pooter.
 Goodenia bellidifolia: a small and delicate plant on Half Moon Rd.
 Ros commented that no-one ever shows the leaves - by chance I had such a snap!
 This is a Cassytha sp. flower
 Mirbelia platylobioides: the only flowering bean of the day.
 Back to the realm of the miniscule - and even that is probably an exaggeration for these tiny flowers.   Amperea xiphoclada 
 Female flowers on Allocasuarina nana.
An overview of the Allocasuarina nana heath.
 This completes the colour range of Eriochilus cucllatus but is primarily included for the small insect.
 A dung beetle - identified by Roger.
 I am intrigued by the fringes on the integument which don't appear in any of the pictures I can find.  bearing in mind the first half of the name it shouldn't be surprising to find 'stuff' growing on the beetle!

Ants tending some scale insects (the insects under the scale are, according to Pete'n'Penny, "likely genus Glycaspis").  My memory is that the white scale is effectively sugar.
 A large grasshopper: Tinzeda sp. )also ID by Roger.
An aesthetic collection of letterboxes on the outskirts of Mongarlowe village.
As Ros commented there were lotsa roadworks.  At least they were working, under the direction of Marley's Ghost (Bob, rather than Jacob).

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