Currently there is great excitement in our plant world, with the discovery of Small Milkwort, Comosperma polygaloides, near Point Addis.

This small, low growing, and insignificant-looking plant was thought to be extinct in our district as it had not been seen for 20 years. In 1990, Mary White described it as a rare plant in her book Coastal Vegetation of Anglesea-Aireys Inlet Region. What an amazing amateur botanist she was – there are several plants in her books I have never seen, and I would have trouble identifying, even with all the resources available today. The flower spikes, as she says, growing ‘to shin height’, have small pinkish-blue and white, pea-like flowers, on erect stems with some fine, narrow leaves.

Small Milkwort
Small Milkwort 

Walking along Ted’s Track, I was almost dazzled now and then by the intense blue flowers of Tall Lobelia, Lobelia gibbosa.

Tall Lobelia
Tall Lobelia

This plant, sometimes in small groups, grows on an erect spike like the Milkwort, and to a similar height. The distinctive five-petalled flowers, with three spreading petals and two curled up backwards, grow only on one side of the spike. The narrow leaves fall off during flowering which also makes the flowers stand out. What a gem!

How about our Moonahs, Melaleuca lanceolata: haven’t they been a sight covered with their creamy white highly perfumed ‘bottlebrush’ flowers?

Moonah

They are iconic in our district, with their intricately sculptured branches.

Moonah
Moonah

Creeping Monkey-flower, Thyridia repens, (which has had a name change from Mimulus repens), can be found on the muddy edges of our rivers as they dry out. This prostrate plant has the most delightful, delicate mauve flowers, and is a real favourite of mine. What a strange name though, it looks like more like a butterfly to me! 

 Creeping Monkey-flower
Creeping Monkey-flower

Nodding Saltbush, Einadia nutans subsp. nutans, a prostrate plant with small arrow-shaped leaves, has been thriving in my garden.

 Nodding Saltbush
Nodding Saltbush

In amongst the masses of leaves of this sprawling wiry plant are tiny orange/red berries. Every year I miss the insignificant flowers that precede these tiny, but very obvious bright fruits. 

Along the cliff tops and the coastal dunes, Coast Everlasting, Ozothamnus turbinatus, is developing clusters of creamy-yellow tubular flowers.

Coast Everlasting
Coast Everlasting

Its bright green foliage stands out in its exposed and often cliff-edge locations.

Also the robust Coast Sword-sedge, Lepidosperma gladiatum, has been bearing compact brown flower heads for some time.

Coast Sword-sedge
Coast Sword-sedge

The clumps of large, flat, sword-like leaves are an important feature of our coastal vegetation.

The nature ramble last month was along the Anglesea River and we were surprised to see so many things in flower (details can be found on this page).

I was particularly interested to see some large, sprawling clumps of our two celeries, Apiums, which looked almost identical with small white clustered flowers. On a closer look it was clear that Annual Celery, Apium anuum, had fine leaves and Sea Celery, Apium prostratum subsp. prostratum var. filiforme, had larger dissected, parsley-like leaves.

Annual Celery
Annual Celery
Sea Celery
Sea Celery 

I have never seen them look so similar as Annual Celery usually has a more upright habitat than the prostrate Sea Celery.

Our plant world is so often full of surprises. Remember to carry your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet so you have a chance of identifying the unexpected.

Ellinor Campbell

Events Calendar

Dec
18

Mon 11:00am - 1:00pm

Dec
19

Tue 9:00am - 12:00pm

Jan
5

Fri 7:30pm - 9:30pm

Jan
6

Sat 8:30am - 11:30am

Jan
8

Mon 9:30am - 11:00am

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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