I've often found that some of the most interesting CP finds I have made have occurred in situations when I was not looking for or expecting them. I happened across another interesting find a few days ago which was totally unexpected.
I was travelling to my wifes parents house at the town of Jamieson up in the Australian High Country along a road which I had travelled probably a hundred times before. Not far from their house I spotted a huge patch of purple flowers growing in a depression in grass on the side of the road below a farm dam.
Instantly I thought/hoped they may be Utricularia flowers- probably U. dichotoma. After dropping my wife and daughter off at her parents house I headed back to check out the patch and get a few photos.
After getting out of the car I noticed that the population had recently been mown to reduce the chance of wildfires which are prevalent in the region during summer. Luckily the mowing had occurred just before the scapes had emerged so none appeared to be damaged- except for the ones crushed by the wheels of the tractor.
The plants were an intense purple. At first I thought I had discovered an immense patch of an outlying population of U. beaugleholei which typically have flowers of such an intense colour. As I reached the plants I realised they were a beautiful form of U dichotoma.
After taking a few photos I thought that the seep that provided moisture year round to the plants may continue across the road into some native bushland. I crossed the road and headed downhill to a small waterhole. There were literally millions of plants growing around the edge of the water.
As I looked closer I realised that there was at least 5 different flower colours and forms present. All other populations of U. dichotoma I have discovered in the past have shown very little variation. Occasionally you will come across a few interspersed white flowers but that is generally all.
In this population there were actually patches of different colour forms in different spots, the prevalent colour being the typical purple you see in many other areas of eastern Australia. Other colours present were pink, very pale purple, blue and very deep purple. A bizarre form with scapes to only 10cms, very pale and 'scalloped' flowers was also present in one large patch. Another interesting feature of all plants were the palate ridges. Many plants had more than the typical 2 or 3 and many were elongated. The upper corolla lobes were larger than any other forms I have seen and the same colour as the lower corolla which is often not the case elsewhere. The 'skirts' of most plants were wider than the typical also.
The final feature that I noted which differed from other plants seen in the past was the size of the leaves. They were over twice the size (length and width) of the typical. At first I thought that they were the leaves of another swamp plant.
Of course I took plenty of photos but it was an extremely bright sunny day and the colours of many of the shots were bleached out a bit. I returned later in the evening to get some more shots when it was darker.
It is interesting to note that the place where these plants grew is at an altitude of over 600 metres (feet- 2000?). It is not uncommon for this region to experience snow and extremely low temps in winter, so the plants would definitely prove to be tolerant of low temps in culture. Temps of over 40deg C (over 100F) are common in summer.
Anyway, here are some of the shots-
Firstly, a picture of the habitat. You can see the small waterhole. The plants are found on the edge of the water to the left. Mountains from the Alpine National Park can be seen in the distance-
A huge population of flowers of various colour forms-
A shot from near groundlevel-
A few plants with typical purple colouration-
A couple of typical coloured scapes together-
A blue form with elongated palate ridges-
A deep purple flowered form-
A very pale blush pink flowered form-
A pink flowered form. The shot is a bit bleached but you can still see the colour, particularly of the flower to the right-
A closeup of a purple flowered form with white palate ridges-
See below for more photos.