Back to Nob Nob Mountain

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A couple of days ago I had to drive a mob of visitors up Nob Nob Mountain.  It’s not really a bother, except the road is a bit scary. It’s just dirt and tight switchbacks and two-hundred metre drop-offs, so it is really no big deal as far as PNG roads go. Nevertheless, when I’m driving it in a van, it’s not my cup of tea.

The view from Nob Nob is fairly spectacular. You can see the entire coast from way over at Saidor on the other side of Astrolabe Bay  to the southeast up to Sek Island  and further to the north. Here’s a shot from the Pacific Orientation Course camp:

View from Pacific Orientation Course grounds on Nob Nob Mountain

I enjoy having a walkabout with my camera whenever I’m at Nob Nob. I never know what I’m going to discover. I was stopped dead in my tracks by these very trippy pink fungi growing on the side of a rotten log:

Trippy pink fungi on Nob Nob Mountain

One can’t help wondering what a little nibble might do. The possibilities are endless, beginning with a psychedelic journey deep into your navel and probably ending with a quick trip to the morgue. On the other hand, it might be an Alice-like experience. I didn’t look underneath to see if they had little labels attached commanding “Eat me!”

This, as any fool can see, is the underside of a fern leaf. What is interesting here is the size and colour of the sori. In case botany was not your favourite subject, I’ll mention that sori are the clumps of sporangia. Does that help? Okay, okay, they are the naughty bits of the fern by which big ferns make little ferns:

Underside of fern leaf on Nob Nob Mountain showing sori (clumps of sporangia)

The spores from the red spots are released into the air to find a suitable place at which to start all over again.

Here is another kind of fern called a Staghorn. You are looking at about half of it. The rest is hidden higher in the tree. The part that you are looking at is about two metres long:

Staghorn Fern on Nob Nob Mountain

If you look at the flappy looking bits at the top you can see that they are completely covered underneath by a solid mass of sporangia.

Enough of ferns. Have some orchids.

Here are some frosty-white ones:

Frosty White Orchids from Nob Nob Mountain

I don’t know the names of any of these. It’s enough strain on my brain to keep up with fish.

The design of this one seems a little overblown to me. I’m not sure what the point is, but I’m suspicious that it has to do with reproduction:

Funky Yellow Orchid from Nob Nob Mountain

It probably goes something like this:

“Hey you! Bug! Look over here. Yeah, baby, I’m hot! Don’t you want to pollinate me? Come on, big fella; you know you want it.”

Sorry for that.

Anyway, I admit that I’m fascinated by orchids. Look at this clown:

Orange Orchid from Nob Nob Mountain

If I were an orchid I’d want to look like that.

Only moreso.

And yes, I would be sticking my purple and white striped tongue out at you.

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12 Responses to “Back to Nob Nob Mountain”

  1. Steve Goodheart Says:

    “Come on, big fella; you know you want it.” LOL!

    Some amazing orchids, Jan. That last one, with the purple “tongue” is really wild.

    Check this orchid out:

    Now *that’s* creative! 🙂

  2. MadDog Says:

    Uh . . . that’s too weird even for me.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Have you ever found, by smell, the Corpse Flower? A grotesque flower which smells of rotting flesh. I think it is Amorphophallus prainii ?

    Hard to get a pic because it only lasts a short time.

  4. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Corpse flowers? I’d love to see, if not smell, one in person. They are amazing! I did an “Extreme Science” textbook feature on one of the corpse flowers, but this one was Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the Titan arum. It’s one huge flower! I wish I could post the honking big images I have of it, but they are proprietary.

    They have an arum at Kew Garden in London — where I got our textbook pictures. Here’s a great link:

  5. Kevin Says:

    The single flower that I saw was in the East Sepik and much smaller with lots of white spots on it…..probably only about 600mm tall. It did really smell like a dead animal.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Kevin, I’ve never seen one myself. There is a bit of confusion about exactly which flower we’re talking about. Amorphophallus titanum is the one that bloomed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 2005 ( There is the one you mentioned (Amorphophallus prainii) which is native to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Then there is Rafflesia arnoldii which has the same range, but is called the Stinking Corpse Lily. I’ve heard people say that they’ve seen “the giant stinking flowers” here, near the border, but I’ve been luck enough to avoid them myself.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Right Steven. See my comment to Kevin.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Kevin, It sounds to me as if your’e describing Rafflesia arnoldii. Have a look at this:

    I have heard that they can be found in that area, but I’m not going looking any time son.

  9. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Spot on, MadDog! Sounds like Rafflesia….as I recall, both it and the Titan rely on carrion beetles, attracted to their stink, to do the pollination and I believe both heat up remarkably to help spread their noxious odor….took a look at the wiki link…really sad to hear they are disappearing.

  10. We're Not Finished With Nob Nob Mountain | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] Not Finished With Nob Nob Mountain I didn’t have enough space a few days ago to show the remaining images from my last trip up Nob Nob Mountain. I’m usually the one […]

  11. cuteek Says:

    Thanks for showing the photo of the fern’s “naughty bits” lol, I just bought some flowers for Valentine’s day and was worried I had bought some diseased ferns, I didn’t realise that was how they made baby ferns. Very interesting!


  12. MadDog Says:

    Cuteek, I’m glad you enjoyed the naughty bits. I think that they are called “fiddle heads” because they look lit the top end of a violin.