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Author Topic: NZ field trips February 2007  (Read 13490 times)

David Lyttle

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NZ field trips February 2007
« on: February 06, 2007, 10:01:50 AM »
I have just returned from a 4 day excursion into the Ohau Range which is on the south side of Lake Ohau near Mt Cook.

The first image is taken at the bushline in Freehold Creek looking down to Lake Ohau with the Ben Ohau Range in the background. 

The second image isa photo taken  from our first camp looking towards the head of Freehold Creek on the morning of our second day. It started raining shortly afterwards but cleared up later on that morning.

One plant in this posting, the orchid Gastrodia cunninghamii growing in the beech forest in Freehold Creek. This is a saprophytic orchid that has no chlorophyll.
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

Lesley Cox

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 08:15:47 PM »
What super pics David. The sun and rainbow in no 2 are quite lovely. And an excellent image of the Gastrodia, so rarely seen in either photos or the flesh. I certainly never have (in the flesh). It looks very sinister. Hopefully more pics to come?
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 08:33:58 PM »
Sinister, but glamorous, Lesley, like the Black Swan in Swan Lake! I'd never seen this orchid before, it is stunningly different.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Lesley Cox

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2007, 08:48:18 PM »
Poor Odile! I wonder did she ever have an inferiority complex, all that fear and loathing heaped upon her, compared to the much loved and cossetted (and rather insipid, don't you think?) Odette?
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2007, 09:03:42 PM »
Yes, for Odette think that Icelandic singer Bjork in the dead swan frock at the Grammies the other year !!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Paddy Tobin

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2007, 10:12:43 PM »
David,

Beautiful photographs all three, enjoyed them, many thanks.

Paddy
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t00lie

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2007, 07:29:27 AM »
David --i wonder if you know this native Gastrodia sps. I was out at a friends place just last Saturday morning cutting up firewood for winter when i was invited to view the plant below growing up through gum leaf litter.

We carefully dug down to find the plant appeared to growing off a root of a nearby tree.Besides Gums being in the vicinity there was also a substantial native Beech .Looks similar in shape to your Orchid but lighter in colour.

Cheers Dave.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2007, 07:31:39 AM by t00lie »
Dave Toole.  Invercargill.Bottom of the South Island New Zealand .Zone 9--Maritime climate .1100mm rainfall PA.

David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2007, 10:35:52 AM »
Hi Dave,

Your plant is certainly a Gastrodia but as to the species I would be just guessing. It could be cunninghamii which can be a variable plant but there are other species recognised. Gastrodia orchids are not that rare and sometimes turn up  in surprising locations. I have observed it growing in Dunedin in a shrub bed next to one of the University tower blocks in a completely urban environment.

A few more pictures, sorry about the drip feeding but it is past my bedtime. The first is a tarn at the head of Freehold Creek. The figure in the foreground slightly right of centre gives some idea of scale. It had stopped raining at this point but had not completely cleared but continued to  improve over the next few hours. The bluffs on the upper left of the picture are absolutely covered with Raoulia eximia like daisies in a lawn. We crossed the ridge between the two bumps on the right. There is a big scree basin at the head of the creek which is obscured by the spur coming down from the central bump. We found Lobelia roughii and Haastia sinclairii growing in the screes there. They tend to be abundant localised areas. I think they are very sensitive to small changes in the environmental conditions

A couple of plants from lower down in the valley above our first campsite, Celmisia walkeri and a Euphrasia I have not been able to identify. I had to terminate this particular photographic session at that site because it started raining and we had to move on.

Also a picture of Haastia sinclairii found just below the pass on the ridge. Elevation was about 1800 metres. The plant was growing on a rock outcrop on the leftmost of the two patches of snow visible in the first picture.

Hope this gives people some idea of the enviroment in which these plants are found.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2008, 12:46:09 AM by Maggi Young »
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 09:15:36 AM »
If you want to photograph scree plants you first need to find them. Screes are not uniform as the photos show. The scree plants are fairly fastidious in their choice of habitats.

Photo 1 is looking down on Lake Ohau from the crest of the Ohau Range. Elevation shown in this series photos is from 1800 to 1900 metres

Photo 2 is looking back across our route from the saddle at the head of Freehold Creek that we used to gain access to the crest of the range. The reddish rock is highly weathered and supports very little in the way of vegetation. Plants are found on gravelly patches between the large angular boulders and on rock outcrops on the ridges.

Photo 3 is of a snow melt tarn occupying  a little basin below another saddle up to the right.

Aciphylla dobsonii grows on these blocky screes and forms cushions up to a metre across. This year none of the plants were flowering.

Raoulia youngii is also a very characteristic plant of these high screes though it tends to favour finer debris.

Other plants found here are the forget-me-not Myosotis traversii and Epilobium pycnostachyum.

These high alpine plants are quite extraordinary and it would be very difficult to duplicate the conditions under which they grow anywhere else.
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 09:43:08 AM »
Here are some more plants, not all high alpine specialists, but quite happy growing on ridge crests and rock outcrops at high elevations.

Melicytus alpinus, a shrub from the family Violaceae.

Hebe pinguifolia in one of its several iterations with a close up showing the flowers.

Hebe epacridea struggling a bit at this altitude.

The small vegetable sheep Raoulia eximia with a close up of a flowering plant showing the dark coloured flowers. This plant commonly grows in crevices in frost-shattered rocks but these particular plants were growing much lower down on an old lateral moraine. This made photographing them much easier needless to say
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

Luc Gilgemyn

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2007, 01:15:17 PM »
Wonderful shots David !
Thanks for sharing - brilliant to let us have a walk in the NZ mountains sitting in our lazy chair like this. :)
Luc Gilgemyn
Harelbeke - Belgium

Paddy Tobin

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2007, 01:20:27 PM »
David,

Loving this walk on the NZ mountains, utterly brilliant. Many thanks, really enjoy it.

Aciphylla dobsonii is the plant I was  most taken by, great shape, form and presence.

Paddy
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hadacekf

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2007, 06:00:28 PM »
David,
Wonderful pictures with a super description. Thank you.
Franz Hadacek  Vienna  Austria

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David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2007, 09:49:57 AM »
Hi Luc, Paddy, Franz,

I have a few more pictures to post.  Paddy, Aciphylla dobsonii is one of my favourites It is a most  remarkable plant some of the specimens must be several hundred years old judging by their size.

First picture in this posting is Dumb-bell Lake. We camped on the shore of this lake in a very pleasant spot. They weather remained kind to us.

Second picture is the upper reaches of the Maitland Valley just downstream of the lake.

There were several species of Celmisia growing in the vicinity. Celmisia haastii which is usually a snowbank plant growing here amongst the tussock. Celmisia angustifolia an almost shrubby species generally growing amongst rock outcrops. Celmisia densiflora a very common and widespread species growing here in the tussock grassland. Another species that was common but I did not photograph was Celmisia lyallii or false spainard. The final celmisia is Celmisia glandulosa a charming little species growing in alpine bogs.

Picture 7 is a Dracophyllum - I find it difficult to identify the smaller creeping Dracophyllums

Picture 8 is the South Island edelwiess Leucogenes grandiceps These plants grow generally in crevices in rock outcrops as the photo shows. This specimen has only three flowers, usually they are completely covered.

Picture 9 is Raoulia grandiflora. Other plants in the picture are Anisotome flexuosa and Celmisia haastii.

The last picture is Fostera sedifolia usually more spreading than this specimen which has formed a neat clump.
David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

David Lyttle

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Re: NZ field trips February 2007
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2007, 10:22:07 AM »
I will continue with some more plants, a hybrid Dolichoglottis with pale lemon flowers. Hybrids between the two species D. lyallii (yellow, narrow leaves) and D. scorzoneroides (white, broader leaves) are very common and flower shades are variable.

Brachyglottis haastii usually found growing on rock outcrops.

A Chionohebe either pulvinaris or thomsonii again very hard to identify in the field. Identification depends on the pattern of hairs on the leaves.

A small Raoulia, I will call it Raoulia apicinigra, if it is not that it is un-named. Raoulia apicinigra is found in the northern part of the South Island and is not recorded this far south. I think this area is a bit of a botanical black hole with not a lot of collecting having been done. There is a skifield on the other side of the ridge which gives some access.
 
Last plant is the stunning Aciphylla horrida, aptly named. During the walk down the valley we were dodging between these plants, any slip being punished by impalement. None of the plants in the valley were flowering in fact no species of Aciphylla seemed to have produced flowers this season.

Last picture is of the party on the move crossing the main stream. If you look closely you can see the Aciphyllas lurking in the tussock.



David Lyttle
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, South Island ,
New Zealand.

 

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