At last it’s spring, with warmer weather and flowers everywhere you look!
At the plant study group, we took a close look at Tetratheca ciliata Pink Bells, and all of us were astonished at what we saw.
I had always assumed that the dark purple centre – giving rise to the other common name of Black-eyed Susan – inside the gorgeous pink, modestly drooping flowers, was the ovary. However, even with a magnifier we could see a tight cluster of long anthers, each with a circular open pore at the tip. Inside the anthers, we could see pollen, which presumably just drops out when the conditions are right – no wonder the flowers hang down. So get out your magnifiers and have a look!
I just love Euryomyrtus ramosissima Rosy Baeckia, another modest, but miniature, beauty which has been flowering for some time. The delightful, tiny, five-petalled, pale-pink flowers, on short red stems, are a real challenge to see or photograph. They face downwards close to the ground in order to attract their (we think!) ant pollinators.
After weeks or months of teasing me with their buds, wattles are finally taking off. The pale-yellow flowers of Acacia suaveolens Sweet Wattle, which has dominated the winter landscape, have now been overtaken by swathes of brighter yellow fresh flowers on a range of Wattle species such as A. myrtifolia, Myrtle Wattle, A. verniciflua Varnish Wattle and A. verticillata Prickly Moses.
Last month I highlighted Hibbertia sericea Silky Guinea-flower, and this month there are two more Guinea-flowers to see. H. riparia Erect Guinea-flower is often confused with the Silky Guinea-flower, but the flowers of the Erect Guinea-flower tend to be a bit smaller and paler, with the defining difference being the small, widely-spaced, rolled leaves.
These are quite different from the two-sides of the Silky Guineaflower leaves, dark on top and paler underneath.
More confusion is possible with yet another species Hibbertia fasciculata var. prostrata Bundled Guinea-flower. This has very bright flowers up the stems, and also rolled leaves, but in dense clusters. Look closely and you’ll have no problem with identification – best of luck!
You will have no trouble seeing and identifying Argentipallium obtusifolium Blunt Everlasting, with its clumps of solitary, daisy flowers with white, papery petals and pale-yellow centres. The sparse, narrow, blunt, green leaves are silvery below.
Olearia teretifolia Cypress Daisy-bush is also easily identified, with its dense bushes covered in small, white flowers in the cypress-like, rich-green foliage.
To finish, here are some peas, sometimes called Egg and Bacon plants, which are notoriously difficult to identify. I have chosen three that are easily identified by their unusual leaves. Platylobium obtusangulum Common Flat-pea, a widespread, low shrub, wins the prize for the most unusual leaves, which are like short, broad arrows. The botanical name was the first that I ever learned, and I have found that, as it rolls off the tongue, it never fails to impress people – have a go!
Pultenaea daphnoides Large Bush-pea is a taller, erect shrub. The leaves are large and wedgeshaped, with a marked vein ending in a stiff point.
Pultenaea scabra Rough Bush-pea is less common, and a low shrub. At the Allen Noble Sanctuary, it can be seen in a wonderful floral display with its distinctive small, heart-shaped leaves.
Last, but not least, is everyone’s favourite, the quite delightful, and extraordinarily named Comesperma volubile Love Creeper. This common creeper twines around, on other plants, and is currently displaying its beautiful, tiny, blue pea flowers on its almost leafless stem.
There is so much to see so you will really need to take your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet on your walks.
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.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.