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.

2 comments:

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.

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