|From our base along the Frieda River, forest-covered hills beckoned.|
|Our hosts' helicopter dropped us off high in the hills.|
We were hosted by a mineral exploration company, and from their base by the river, we had helicopter service to a landing pad high up in the hills. These upper areas are moist and mossy, what I would call a cloud forest. Each day we were dropped off and walked down via varied routes, collecting plants as we went. I kind of hoped that they wouldn't find anything in the pristine area, and a recent viewing on Google Earth revealed a few scattered mines in the area, but much of the forest intact.
|From the air, we saw spectacular tall Livistona palms.|
|On the ground, the large Livistonas|
eluded us. We saw only juveniles
|The inflorescence of Orania |
lauterbachiana, with branches covered
with soft, orangish scales, is held by
Yakas, who worked for the Division of
Botany in Lae for many years.
|Orania parva has a very small |
But there was plenty to see otherwise. A species of Orania, quite different from the one we had seen earlier at Amanab in the Sepik River valley, showed up along one of our descents. It proved to be a specimen of the widespread O. lauterbachiana, or possibly a new species closely related to it. In another valley, we found a different Orania, which proved to be a new species. I later named it Orania parva, for its rather small dimensions.
|An unnamed Licuala held by Brad Young|
Licualas have fan-shaped leaves with
leaflets spreading in a nearly perfect circle, and
|Hydriastele aprica, a new species found on limestone ridges.|
|The fruits of Hydriastele aprica, a|
species new to science when we found
it in 1978.
Just downslope from the Hydriastele, we found a species of Nepenthes clambering over the limestone boulder. This was a delightful surprise. Limestone areas always seem to have unique species growing on them. Another surprise was to find several members of the ginger family growing as epiphytes on low branches in the upper cloud forest.
|The male flowers of Hydriastele aprica are|
whitish with purple tips. They will open first,
followed by the tiny female flowers hidden
|A species of Nepenthes climbs over the limestone boulders.|
|A dainty Riedelia in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) grows as an epiphyte|
in the cloud forest.
|Mucuna novoguineensis is a spectacular vine in the legume family (Fabaceae).|
|Forrestia mollisma is in the Commelinaceae.|
|A tiny orchid blooms in the cloud forest.|
|Hydriastele longispatha had not been seen since being collected by Leonard Brass|
in the 1930's. Growing just down the limestone slope from the Hydriastele was a population of pitcher plants, Nepenthes.
|The Frieda River Valley, as I remember it from 1978.|