November 1st, 2020

aye aye captain

#1681 - Phytolacca sp. - Pokeweed

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Also known as pokeberry, pokebush, pokeroot, and inkberry

There’s between 25 and 35 described species in the genus, and a few are tree sized. They’re native to the Americas and East Asia, but at least 5 species are weeds in Australia. One species is an invasive weed in the Pacific Northwest. 

A related species has been found in fossils from the Upper Cretaceous. 

The leaves of one species are used in poke salat in the American South, which is a bit weird since every part of the plant is quite poisonous. 

aye aye captain

#1682-1683 - Hepialid Moths

#1682 - Oxycanus determinata
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A quite rare mid-sized Hepialid, only found in coastal vegatation in parts of Western Australia. Apparently my photos are the only record of the species on iNaturalist or the Atlas of Living Australia.

Wannanup, south of Perth



#1683 - Fraus sp. - Primitive Ghost Moth
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A smaller Hepialid species, from a genus with a number of undescribed species. Most of them feed on grasses and sedges as larvae, as far as I can determine, and at least one species is a pasture pest

Wellard, Perth

aye aye captain

#1684-1692 - Southwest Spider Orchids

#1684 - Caladenia procera - Carbunup King Spider Orchid
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Happily, travel restrictions inside Western Australia were lifted soon enough that the WA Naturalists Club weekend trip to the Yallingup area could still go ahead. So we got to see a really nice selection of species, such as this Carbunup King, one of the tallest and largest Spider Orchids.

Caladenia procera is critically endangered, currently known from a linear range of less than 15 km to the south-west of Busselton, where it grows in Jarrah, Marri and Peppermint woodland on alluvial sandy-clay loam flats with Anigozanthos manglesii, but also from a disjunct occurrence some 70 km north near Kemerton. The geodata for the species on iNaturalist is deliberately obscured, to protect them from disturbance, but since they were doing remarkably well in the drain beside the road, and along the well worn footpaths in this particular tiny area of remnant woodland, they would seem to be tolerant of minor disturbance. Having most of the countryside clear-cut for paddocks, and the rest burnt at the wrong time of year, is not minor disturbance.



#1685 - Caladenia ferruginea - Rusty Spider Orchid
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A much less endangered orchid than the Carbunup King, but only because there are more areas of surviving bushland between Perth and Albany, and it grows in a wider range of habitat,  ranging from well-drained soil in woodlands to swamps which are flooded in winter



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