01 February, 2013

An Orchid and Two Mystery Ferns

I took a stroll this afternoon along the path we are making to our nearest neighbors' house not quite a quarter mile away.  The path goes from the back of our property and heads north along the edge of (and sometimes into) the marsh that borders Black Creek.  There is still much evidence of Hurricane Iris (2001) in the twisted and downed trees.  Not many trees are very tall.  The largest trees were decapitated by Iris.  It is sad to see the magnificence of these large trees reduced.  But what was bad for the trees has provided an opportunity for other plants.   The more open canopy and abundant amounts of dead wood are good conditions for many epiphytes including orchids and at least 1 fern species.  The photo below is of an orchid called Catasetum integerrimum. Its roots grow up; the thought is that they catch detritus for nutrients.  It is a common orchid whose flowers are fertilized by bees.  I haven't seen any blossoms yet, but will keep an eye out for them.  
See the roots growing up?  And the big seed pod in the foreground is at least 6 inches long.
I think showed photos already of a huge fern that is over 7 feet tall.  The fern below is a little smaller, only 4 or so feet tall. 
Growing tips of new frond.
Fiddle head unfurling.
The spore-bearing sori are on either side of the mid-rib of the leaflets.  This will help me key it out when I get my books down here.
Another fern I saw is an epiphytic fern, that, like the orchids, is taking advantage of the downed wood.
The rhizomes are twining around the tree root that is growing over a fallen tree.
The fronds of younger plants are not as elongate.
Older specimens had spore-bearing fronds with sori arranged in pairs of dots, one on each side of the  mid-rib.
It seems I have my work cut out for me. 
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  1. Hey Wilma, So glad you're back in Belize. I love your photos. So beautiful down there. Hope we can keep in touch. Best, Gale

    1. Hi Gale! Glad you like the photos. Hope you can gome visit us and see for yourself sometime. We also want to come see your neck of the woods once I am here for good after July. cheers, Wilma

  2. How lovely to be able to see orchids growing naturally in the wild.

    1. I am still pinching myself to make sure it is real! Of ourse we have to rely on Mother Nature to provide the proper conditions.

  3. Of course, it will be a whole new World of flora and fauna for you to discover Wilma.

    1. Perfect for those of us who are easily bored without proper stimulation. now wipe that smirk off your face; you know what I mean!


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