With the onset of autumn, you will notice that the bushland is less colourful and more muted in tone.

However in your rambles this month you should look out for some of the following plants:

Eucalyptus obliqua Messmate is a common and widespread medium to tall tree with string-like bark, and a dense crown of glossy dark green leaves. It usually has a straight trunk, but where it grows near coastal sandy sites it can be somewhat stunted/twisted. The bark is always fibrous, brown and fissured, but greyish on the outside. The curved leaves can reach 15 cm long and are asymmetrical. Buds are in clusters of 7-15. The cream-coloured flowers appear from December to March and exude a strong honey scent. The wineglass shaped fruits have three to four valves that open to release the seeds. The valves are below the rim of the fruit. The wood is used extensively for general construction and poles and is rated ‘fair’ for heat production.

Messmate

When walking near the coastal dunes or along the river banks at Anglesea you will find Rhagodia candolleana Seaberry Saltbush. This is a vigorous shrub up to 3m that scrambles over fallen logs and fences. Its green to bluish-grey leaves are 10-30mm long and often have two blunt lobes near the lower part of the leaf. At present its clusters of deep wine-red berries make it an attractive plant in the bush. It can be a good hedge plant in the home garden.  There are separate male and female plants.

Seaberry Saltbush

Another gem you may come across in similar habitat is Threlkeldia diffusa Coast Bonefruit. It is a small woody loosely-spreading perennial, with pale green, cylindrical, hairless leaves and small bi-sexual flowers in the leaf axils. In autumn the leaves display an attractive pinkish mauve colour. With maturity, the purplish fruit becomes very hard, hence the common name.

Coast Bonefruit

Leucopogon parviflorus Coast Beard-heath is also common along the riverbank and on the dunes. These are small prostrate shrubs to small trees, with pointed alternate leaves and white flowers in spikes in the leaf axils. The fruit is white when ripe and attractive to birds. The shrub is covered in fruit (white berries) at present.

Coast Beard-heath

Along the cliffs and coastal dunes, you are sure to see Ozothamnus turbinatus Coast Everlasting which grows to about 1.5 m. It has stiff, narrow, bright green leaves 2cm long with rolled margins. The leaves are woolly and white on the underside. Cream tubular florets, surrounded by hairy yellow bracts, form conical flower heads in late summer.

Coast Everlasting

Happy rambling!

 

References:

Costermans, L.F. 1994 5th edn Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas, Costermans Publishing, Frankston

MacDonald, M (ed) 2009, Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, Inverted Logic, Melbourne

Mayfield, E. 2013, Flora of the Otway plain & ranges 2, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood

Philippa Hesterman

Events Calendar

Nov
25

Sat 9:00am - 3:00pm

Nov
26

Sun 9:30am - 11:00am

Nov
27

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

Nov
27

Mon 11:00am - 1:00pm

Weed of the month

Freesia

Freesia

Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.

More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.

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