About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Spring Wildflowers (6)

This will be the last in this series, mostly because I'm heading off to Ecuador next week, and won't be back until early summer. For posting number 5 see here; further links to earlier ones can be found there. The main orchid season is winding down around Canberra, though there are still some nice ones around (and some still to come).

Mountain Beard Orchid, Calochilus montanus, Black Mountain.
A striking and and uncommon orchid which may also be found in the ranges, up to about 1000 metres above sea level.
A much commoner one is the Slender Sun Orchid; last time I featured a rare pink version, but here's the 'standard' form.
Thelymitra pauciflora, Black Mountain.
Another uncommon one locally is a widespread shrub, Kangaroo Apple; the flowers tell us immediately that it is closely related to tomatoes, potatoes etc in the family Solanaceae.
Solanum linearifolium, Black Mountain.
The rest of today's feature plants are all yellow, starting with two species of Guinea Flower.
Hibbertia calycina above, and H. obtusifolia below.
The flowers are almost identical, but the leaves are very different.
The genus was named for George Hibbert, a London merchant and anti-slavery MP who lived from 1757 to 1837.
He had a private botanic garden at Chelsea, where he was one of the first to grow Australian plants, though his chief passion was for South Africa where he maintained his own private collector for five years.
Henry Charles Andrews, who named the genus in 1800, described him as "one whose knowledge and fervour in botanical pursuits, as well as liberality in his endeavours to enrich our collections, from every quarter of the globe .... has not been exceeded by any".
Other sources suggest that this might contain a modicum of hyperbole.

Finally Ivy Goodenia is an attractive little ground cover which can be found from local forests to the high mountains. The person it was named for - the Reverend Samuel Goodenough, Bishop of Carlisle - warrants his own story, and I shall oblige in due course.
Goodenia hederacea, Black Mountain.


Anonymous said...

The Mountain Beard Orchid is so lovely. We have lots of Hibbertias and Goodenias out around southern NSW too, but it has got a bit dry for the orchids and there are not many about.

Ian Fraser said...

Thanks Madoqua. As I may have mentioned before, the beard orchids are a sort of totem of mine - sadly I find it more necessary to look for Grey Beard Orchids these days...