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Mt. Baw Baw fieldtrip

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Decided to take the family for a daytrip to the Mt. Baw Baw plateau, an area comprising approximately 80km2 of alpine woodland and heathland. The region is roughly 120km from Melbourne and took about 3 hours to reach.

I'd never been there before but knew the area was home to Drosera arcturi and Utricularia monanthos as well as numerous summer flowering terrestrial orchids, another favourite of mine.

Having never been there before and very poorly organised, I had no idea what to expect. After a picnic lunch on one of the cross-country ski runs (obviously lacking in snow at this time of year), we searched for walking tracks that may take us near wet areas that contain sphagnum. A period of time later, after circling deserted ski resort (not too popular midweek out of the snow season- we didn't see a single car or person the entire time we were there) we found a box with brochures detailing the various walks around the area. As we were pushing our son around in a pram, we were forced to go for the easiest of walks.

The walk was a short circuit through the snow gum forest which finished at a small clearing known as a "frost hollow" where only herbs and sphagnum grow. A small stream wound its way through this area. This frost hollow was located only a number of metres from the main kiosk of the resort and so very easily accessed.

Anyway, we did manage to find a few plants of D. arcturi, plenty of sphagnum, some orchids, but no signs of U. monanthos. I'm sure that if we had been able to take one of the much longer tracks we would have found many more plants as these tracks venture through vast areas of sphagnum. Next time....

Here's a few shots-

The D. arcturi were found only in small numbers and many of the plants were being swamped by the sphagnum, only the tips of the leaves were visible. They had all finished flowering and seed was present on many plants.



Only leaf tips could be seen on these plants-



The habitat-




Finally a few orchids-

Dipodium roseum- a Hyacinth orchid, a leafless saprophyte.




a couple of unknown Leek orchids (Prasophyllum sp.



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Great shots of some good looking orchids and Drosera. :) Got any more shots of this place?

No unfortunately. I was a little lazy with the photography today.

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The highest point of the plateau is 1564 metres but the alpine village (where the plants were seen) is 1470 metres. Quite low, in fact the lowest I've seen D. arcturi growing. The snow season is quite short because of this and the growing season of the Drosera quite long compared to other sites. At this time of year the plants are still flowering in other alpine environments, whereas here they had finished and were already dropping seed.

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Nice pics Sean.

I'd imagine U. monanthos is pretty difficult to find. George and I have only found 1 location at Falls Creek that has U. monanthos, and we checked out a lot of places.

I think it needs more open, shallow muddy areas for it to grow and thrive. As a small plant it can't compete with the grasses and sphagnum.

I'll try and russle up some pics when I get a chance to help explain to people.



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It appears that Mt Baw Baw is located about 34 degrees 41 min S latitude. Is it likely that the NZ D. arcturi are located about 10 degrees further south? A general rule of thumb is that for environmental conditions there is about a 100 m change in elevation per degree change in latitude. If so, plants growing at 1470 m at 35 degrees lat would find similar conditions at 470 m at 45 degrees lat. Hmmmm.

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The latitude of Hobart in Tasmania is 42 deg 52 mins S and forms of D. arcturi are known to grow at almost sealevel down there.

I'm not sure of the area of NZ that D. arcturi is known to inhabit, whether it be the north or south island or both (I'd guess both). Any ideas from our Kiwi members, or someone with Bruce Salmons book? (really must get hold of it myself....)

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Hi guys

Here's the U. monanthos habitat pics from Falls Creek.

D. arcturi also grew there but generally on the edges of the water.


U. monanthos habitat


U. monanthos habitat


U. monanthos habitat


U. monanthos


U. monanthos


U. monanthos, note how the flower scape is only about an inch tall.


U. monanthos and D. arcturi habitat. The red patches are D. arcturi.

A couple of amazing plants.


Steve :lol:

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love the arcturi, just wish it was a little more forgiving in cultivation...
D. arcturi seems to be one of the most difficult plants to 1) germinate & 2) grow long term. I'm curious about this level of difficulty - is it similar to D. linearis in it's requirements? People appear to have the same level of success w/ both (or lack of...).
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  • 3 weeks later...

Just for interest, the most northern population that I frequent is located in the range of 39 deg 19.53 mins S, 175 deg 30.16 mins E on Mt Ruapehu in the North Island and the most southern population that I've been to is on Stewart Island at 47 deg 00.32 mins S, 167 deg 43.05 mins E. This is not the most southern population by any means as it occurs also on the islands off the southern ocean but the elevation at Stewart Is site was only a couple hundred metres asl. vs over 1400m asl. at Mt Ruapehu.



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  • 8 months later...

Nice Pics.

I have arcturi growing in Belgium, it is not so difficult to grow them ones you now how :smile:

(Like always that is the case)

I stand my plants from October to April/May OUTSIDE in the cold and frost (-5°)

After the are starting to come out of dormancy i put them inside my green house, you can

leaf them outside, butt the grow better en beautifuler in a green house in the summer,

So thats it give them frost ore cold and they will grow like a normal Drosera.

The same growing technique, I use for D.anglica, D.filliformis var. filliformis, D.linearis,

D.anglica 'Giant', D.hybride (intermediaxfilliformis) D.stenopetala (only one left deu to bird ripping

out the plants out of the pot).

I cover my plants with wire to shield them from birds.

Hope this will help, I will try to put some picture up from my setup in my garden.


Kurt Spontini

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