Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sandstone Sanctuary

The sandstone rock platform that runs along one side of our property is proving to be a wondrously diverse and relatively undisturbed piece of habitat. As the weather warms up, I'm discovering increasing numbers of plant species, which is such a joy. This is where I found the Cryptostylis subulata I recently blogged about, and there are also Lomandra longifolia, Lomandra filiformis, Lomandra obliqua, Gahnia sp., and a range of monocots I'm yet to identify.

Yesterday, looking out the bathroom window, I noticed a Stylidium productum in flower!

Some while back, when we were still living in Turramurra, I had the same species growing in a pot. It resulted in a far better photo (which was published on Botany Photo of the Day), but having it growing wild is much more satisfying.

An utter favourite of mine is Caustis flexuosa, also known, appropriately enough, as Curly Wigs. I'd love to try propagating it, although I hear it's not an easy task.

(Of course, instead of taking photos and blogging, right now I should be studying for a uni exam on Monday, but to be honest, my brain is in a state of jangling anticipation: today is election day. I've been out to vote and there is nothing to do but wait now to see what the rest of Australia's decided. The tension is excruciating! Please, please, please, let this be the last day of the wretched Howard Government....)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spring Photos from the Garden.

Today, after a few days of solid and very appreciated rain, I ventured into the garden, where I took some photos of spring fare.

This is Elaeocarpus reticulatus, also known as Blueberry Ash, Ash Quandong, Blue Olive berry, Fairy Petticoats, Fringe Tree, Koda, Lily of the valley Tree and Scrub Ash. Obviously when it's been observed by white folk, they've been rather taken with it and have coined lots of names. I didn't even realise this was in the garden till I saw the flowers!

We've a lot of mature Banksia serrata growing. It's astounding how such ancient looking trees, with their knobbly, solid bark, can produce soft new leaves and these extraordinary flower cones each year. This inflorescence is very immature. I'll take another photo when it's older.

Actinotus helianthi, or Flannel Flower, is local to the area, but this is one I've planted.

Ceratopetalum gummiferum is the New South Wales Christmas Bush. The flowers are white, but they're followed, at around Christmas time, by persistent red sepals, which bathe the tree in colour. I'll follow this photo up too!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cryptostylis subulata

Native terrestrial orchids are fabulous little creatures, in part because when they're not flowering, they look very insignificant, and then, suddenly, out burst some of the more macabre inflorescences you're likely to encounter.

This is a Cryptostylis subulata (Large Tongue Orchid) growing on the sandstone rock platform next to our house. This afternoon, I looked at it under the microscope. Extraordinary textures, but alas my photography can only begin to convey that.

A close up of the underside of the flower.

(Ruler in millimetres.)

I'm planning on preserving a specimen to add to the Herbarium's collection. Unfortunately, it won't dry too prettily, but perhaps they'll be able to use one of my photos on PlantNET.