Category Archives: Plants

The Great Sun-orchid – Thelymitra grandiflora

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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
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Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid

Thelymitra grandiflora aka Great Sun-orchid, Giant Sun Orchid
Working classification…
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Charophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoidae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Thelymitrinae
Mount George Conservation Park (Deanery Hill), South Australia – October 18th, 2014 – warm conditions after previous day’s rain

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

This is not a common species, but it is pretty spectacular! One source in The South Australian Naturalist, November, 1919, described it as “The most robust member of the genus”, and in The Gardener’s Chronicle, April 15th, 1882 this species was described as “…the largest and most beautiful Thelymitra known”. Flowers about 3cm wide heavily clustered up a tall stem 35-75cm high. Among the many similar plain blue species, this is possibly the least difficult to identify because of its size and the lemony colouration of its central sex parts. Like all Sun orchids, this species needs warm weather over 25 degrees C to open the flowers. It blooms from October to December.

http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:apni.taxon:563420
http://www.johnwamsley.com/november21.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelymitra

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Juncus pallidus – The Pale Rush

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Juncus pallidus aka Pale Rush

Juncus pallidus aka Pale Rush
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum (?): Angiosperms
Class (?): Monocots
Subclass (?): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Juncaceae
St PetersBillabong, South Australia – December 23rd, 2013 – sunny conditions after a severe windstorm

Photo: Michal Dutkiewicz

From Wikipedia:
“Juncus pallidus, commonly known as the Pale Rush, is a species of rush that is native to southern Australia. It is a vigorous, tufted, tussock-forming, rhizomatous perennial herb with culms growing to 70–135 cm in height. The inflorescence, which is 25–185 mm long, contains many straw coloured flowers, each with six floral segments. It is usually found in moist, nutrient-poor soils subject to periodic flooding, such as fresh and brackish waterways, including swamps, creek banks, lake edges and sand seeps.”
Thanks to Michael Starkey for the ID.

http://www.friendsofknocklofty.org/flora-g.html#g-4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juncus_pallidus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juncus

Caladenia tentaculata – A Sophisticated Mimic

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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, or King Spider Orchid
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Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, or King Spider Orchid

Caladenia (Arachnorchis) tentaculata aka Mantis Orchid, King Spider Orchid and a host of other names
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiospermae
Class: Liliopsida (?) Monocots (?)
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Scott Creek Conservation Park – October 11th, 2014 – warm, dry conditions on Currawong Ridge Track

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

I took these pictures on a warm, windy day and these Orchids are a striking sight – waving about. The Australian bush is full of spiky-looking critters, especially insects, and this Spider Orchid is designed to attract just such a critter, using its critter-like features, as well as its pheromones! – The tentacles have a wasp-like scent that draws the male Thynnine Wasp in to pollinate with the “apparent” flightless female it sees in the shape of the middle of the flower. The Orchid smears pollen on the Wasp when it attempts to mate, and the pollen is carried to the next Orchid flower by the unsatisfied Wasp, where the pollen is rubbed off, completing the transfer and enabling the fertilization of the flower – A complex, marvellous deception that demonstrates the interwoven evolution of these species by their mutual dependence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caladenia
http://biology-assets.anu.edu.au/hosted_sites/orchid_pollination/

Common Woodrush

Luzula meridionalis aka Common Woodrush (?)
Luzula meridionalis aka Common Woodrush (?)
Luzula meridionalis aka Common Woodrush (?)
Luzula meridionalis aka Common Woodrush (?)

Luzula meridionalis aka Common Woodrush (?)
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum (?): Angiosperms
Class (?): Monocots
Subclass (?): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Juncaceae
Anstey Hill Conservation Park, South Australia – August 24th, 2014 – on the high trails

Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzula
http://fe.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Residents/Yarra_Ranges_Plant_Directory/Lower_Storey/Grasses_Rushes_and_Sedges/Luzula_meridionalis_var__densiflora
http://www.johnwamsley.com/november03.html

Muntries – A Super Food

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Kunzea pomifera aka Muntries, Emu Apples
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Kunzea pomifera aka Muntries, Emu Apples
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Kunzea pomifera aka Muntries, Emu Apples
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Kunzea pomifera aka Muntries, Emu Apples

Kunzea pomifera aka Muntries, Emu Apples, Native Cranberries, Munthari, Muntaberry or Monterry
Kingdom: Plantae
Pnylum: Angiosperms (?)
Class: Eudicots (?)
Subclass: Rosids (?)
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Aldinga Scrub, South Australia – November, 2013 – mild, overcast conditions

Photos & Text: Michal Dutkiewicz

This plant is called Muntries, and it is a super food and has been used as such by both European early settlers and indigenous Australians alike – according to Wikipedia: “The berries produced by these plants are about 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter, green with a tinge of red at maturity and have a flavour of a spicy apple. Crunchy in texture, muntries contain up to four times more antioxidants than blueberries and provide natural waxes that are good for skin nourishment.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunzea_pomifera
http://www.yallaroo.com.au/Kunzea_pomifera.htm

A Paler Waxlip

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Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid
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Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid

Glossodia major aka Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Waxlip Orchid
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiospermae
Class: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Diurideae
Subtribe: Caladeniinae
Top:
Scott Creek Conservation Park – October, 2013 – sunny, windy conditions
Bottom:
Morialta Conservation Park – September, 2013 – wet conditions

Photos: Michal Dutkiewicz

The Purple Cockatoo Orchid, Glossodia major, also known as the Waxlip, also occurs in this pale form – I don’t think this is a true albino, but there is another form which seems to be almost pure white, but I have only seen those in photos. It makes a striking change to see these in the Bush.

Boronia coerulescens

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Boronia coerulescens ssp coerulescens aka Blue Boronia
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots
Subclass: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Monarto Conservation Park – August 28th, 2014 – warm, dry conditions

I was taken aback by these small flowers.  They had a crispness that almost made them look artificial – They are part of a large family and are widely cultivated. I haven’t seen too many species in the Bush though – Very beautiful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boronia