Thursday, 22 November 2007

A surprise in more ways than one

The Annya State Forest north of Heywood is a favourite patch of bush, and I visit it every time we go down to our farm nearby. It's a sandy heathy woodland, rich in flora, and even though I've explored parts of it many times it still has the capacity to surprise me.

Last weekend I found three species of plants in 'my' patch that I've never seen there before – maybe I've just never been there when they're flowering.

Most colourful and impressive was the Lax Marsh-flower Villarsia umbricola, growing in a very damp and swampy area, the yellow flowers held well above the leaves. This plant only grows in the south-west of Victoria and across the border in the south-east of South Australia.

Lax Marsh-flower

The second new plant was Pale Grass-lily Caesia parviflora var. parviflora. It too was flowering, tiny pale flowers, and would be easy to miss if not in flower because its leaves are grass-like.

Pale Grass-lily

The third was an orchid. I was wandering along a track in the bush on my way back to the car, tired because I'd been out all morning taking photos on a hot day. I spotted a late flowering orchid, the common but pretty Pink Fingers Caladenia carnea, and grabbed a quick photo without troubling to do it properly. The photo below is one of Pink Fingers taken on another day.

Pink Fingers

When I looked at the (blurry) photo on the screen later in the day I realised that the 'Pink Fingers' was in fact a Black-tongue Caladenia Caladenia congesta, a plant I'd never seen before and in fact not often seen growing in the wild. So, I got in the car and drove the 15 km back to have another look. (Yes, I'm worried about climate change, but sometimes I have to break my own rules about petrol consumption and greenhouse gas.) I found the original plant and another one nearby that I'd missed seeing first time. This time I made sure I got a good photo of the beautiful orchid.

Black-tongue Caladenia

Now I'm back home in Geelong but I'd love to be back in the Annya forest to see if there are any more surprises.


Gouldiae said...

Three good 'gets' Boobook. Definitely worth the drive back. I see you got some wildlife too in the Pale Grass Lily shot.

Duncan said...

I'm green with envy at that C congesta, Boobook! You made my morning with your interesting posts.