With so many plants flowering prolifically this spring we have been really spoilt for choice.

In October we revisited plant family Proteaceae, taking a close look at the Horny Cone-bush, Isopogon ceratophyllus, as well as Victorian Smoke-bush, Conospermum mitchellii. Although in the same plant family we noticed these species differ in the arrangement of their female floral parts. The Horny Cone-bush has a pollen presenter whereas Victorian Smoke-bush does not.

The role of the pollen presenter can be described quite simply: the female floral part collects the pollen from the male whilst the flower is in bud and, on flower opening, presents it to the insect pollinators. On completion of this task the pollen presenter is then receptive to pollen from another plant, enabling cross pollination to occur. In other words the female is responsible for both jobs. What’s new!

Our investigation of Broom Spurge, Amperea xiphoclada var. xiphoclada, a member of plant family Euphorbiaceae, revealed that this plant species has single-sexed plants with an abundance of male plants and fewer females (observation only).

Male Broom Spurge flower
Male Broom Spurge flower

Female Broom Spurge flower
Female Broom Spurge flower

The term used to describe single sexed plants is dioecious.

A hand lens will confirm the presence of showy male yellow stamens, whereas the female flowers are not as obvious. They appear to be round in shape and dark in colour.

November was the month to take a look at Scented Paperbark, Melaleuca squarrosa, and Woolly Teatree, Leptospermum lanigerum, both members of plant family Myrtaceae.

Scented Paperbark
Scented Paperbark stamens

The bundled nature of the stamens is an identifying feature, distinguishing Melaleuca species from other similar members of Myrtaceae, for example Callistemon species.

Any Teatree flower is worth magnifying but we found the hairy nature of the flowers of the Woolly Teatree particularly beautiful.

Woolly Teatree
Woolly Teatree with style and stigma

Much discussion arose from the fact that the ovary of many of these flowers did not have a style and stigma. This was also observed on some flowers of Manuka, L. scoparium. Obviously some homework is needed, because these species are described as botanically perfect, containing both male and female parts.

Controversy is never far away in our monthly plant study group; your input would be most welcome.

Gail Slykhuis

Events Calendar


Mon 9:30am - 11:00am


Mon 9:30am - 11:00am


Sun 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Weed of the month



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.

Sign up for membership

ANGAIR membership gives you access to a range of great activities and benefits. Learn more about all these benefits as well as how to sign up and renew.

Sign Up

Get to know your local Friends groups

There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.

Find a local group

Go to top