Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fieldwork in Kosciusko National Park, part two

Today was the final day of field work. Because I was in the mountains earlier than in past years I saw a number of plants flowering for the first time.

Chief among them is probably Psychrophila introloba (formerly Caltha introloba, Ranunculaceae). It famously sometimes starts flowering while still covered by snow, and indeed I had not noticed them until a student asked me rather poetically, "do you know what those white stars under the snow are?"

Another Ranunculaceae I saw for the first time is Ranunculus millanii, the smallest buttercup in the area.

Even smaller: Plantago glacialis (Plantaginaceae) in all its glory.

A spore plant for a change, Huperzia australiana. This is a lycopod that carries the sporangia in the axils of normal vegetative leaves. The other species in the area, Lycopodium fastigiatum, has spikes of differentiated sporophylls.

This species, Pimelea ligustrina (Thymelaeaceae) is apparently called the Kosciusko Rose, although it does not, of course, have anything to do with roses. But it is very attractive nonetheless.

I believe I had a picture of this species on the blog before, but now somebody told me what they are called: tortoise beetles.

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