'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

New Zealand Orchids

     This time last year we went up into the bush* near Te Puke to do the annual bird count.
In that particular location we didn't hear all that many and not much variety either unfortunately, but we did find a little cluster of orchids that were in flower.  Now I like to think I know a fair bit about NZ native flora, but I know very little about the orchids.  Once on a walk, someone pointed out to me the 'Easter orchid', which is an epiphyte, but I had no idea there were so many until I went on this website to identify this one for you.
There are dozens and dozens, even taking away the many that were only sighted once many years ago, and also the ones that probably came over from Australia but didn't get established.

I could get quite hooked.

Simpliglottis cornuta (Green Bird Orchid)
Even though the website says this Green Bird Orchid is quite common, I would never have seen it unless it had been pointed out to me.  It's like hanging out with the birders - suddenly you begin to see all the birds. You have to have your right 'eyes' turned on.

This has reminded me that many years ago I begged my Godfather Peter to give me a little of his work.  This is what he gave me, saying 'they aren't very good... just little water colours ... I don't paint much these days'.

I've just dug them out.  Sadly they have become rather spotty.  But I think they are rather lovely.

Peter Liley 1976. Gastrodia
Water colour on paper.

Peter Liley 1975.  Mycrotis.
Water colour on paper

Peter Liley 1974. New Zealand Native Orchid Pterostylis.
Water colour on paper

* New Zealand forest is referred to as 'bush'.  Perhaps it's the British tendency to understate.


  1. We have a few varieties here; some are very common, and almost carpet the ground in Spring. Others one sees once in a blue moon! All are very beautiful plants.

  2. Cro - Now you had me looking up 'wild French orchids'. Over 1000 species!

  3. I accept that it's a very sweeping statement but I'm not a great lover of the formality of many orchids. I once worked with one of Britain's orchid specialists and he tried his darndest to convert me.

    1. Ah. That's an interesting reason... the formality.

      When I think about anything-specialists, or, shall we say 'obsessionalists' I'm always reminded of the bit in the movie Adaptation (caution - swearing): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y410SQD2mz8

  4. I should have said 'educate me'.

  5. I'm a self-confessed addict. I only saw my first real orchid in the North-West of England this summer. I were proper chuffed. I have a blog for orchid fans. May I post a link to this piece?
    This is me: http://orchidmania-pk.blogspot.com/

    1. Hello Pamela, and welcome to TLVD. Yes, I would be delighted for you to link to this page. I hope it's of interest to your readers.
      I'm hoping to find some European and UK orchids when I next visit 'up' there.


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