I have been so enjoying our wonderful spring flowers.
Swathes of the white flowers of Prickly Teatree, Leptospermum continentale, have been looking like a snow fiesta in some places, such as the Eumeralla Flora Reserve just outside Anglesea. The small petals gathering underneath resemble snow drifts.
Yellow has dominated in other areas due to the flowering of Black Wattle, Acacia mearnsii—the last of our wattles to flower. It is also one of the few wattles to keep its feathery leaves, rather than replacing them with leaf-like phyllodes as it matures. However, both of these flowers may not last much longer.
I was pleased to see two special plant species in flower near the Anglesea waste treatment plant. This is the only area I know of on the Surf Coast to find gorgeous Feather-heads, Ptilotus macrocephalus. These evocatively named fluffy white flowers are easy to spot as they dance just above the height of most of the other heath plants.
I was surprised to also find near them, closer to the treatment plant, several tall, white, arresting spikes on Grass-trees, Xanthorrhoea, without trunks.
Small Grass-tree flower
Over the other side of this area near the Purnell Street entrance I found a couple of similar plants with several flower spikes. Grass- trees with underground trunks are less common than those with above ground trunks, and it appears we have two in our district. The Small Grass-tree, X. minor subsp. lutea, is quite common, and the other, which is just called Grass-tree, X. caespitosa, is rare. Key differences are the leaves which are green and not waxy on the Small Grass-tree, but grey-green and waxy on the other species, and the flower-stems and spikes are much taller and wider on the rare Grass-tree.
In this area, but nearer the sea, there are a number of low-growing yellow flowers of Yam Daisy, Microseris walteri, one of which I photographed with what may be its fly pollinator. I also found a patch of them in a weedy area on the corner of Gilbert Street and the Great Ocean Road, Aireys Inlet. It is often so disappointing to see a largish daisy and realise it is just a weed dandelion but this time they were definitely Yam Daisies.
There are numerous small plants in flower all over the district. Woolly Rice-flower, Pimelea octophylla, is always a pleasure to see with its dangling, furry, white flower-heads.
The delicate-looking white flowers of Milkmaids, Burchardia umbellata, have been flowering beautifully and are now developing appealing pink/red three-chambered seed pods.
This has also been a good year for seeing the bright yellow flowers of Bent Goodenia, G. geniculata, with the uneven placement of the five petals giving it such a distinctive look. They grow from a basal rosette on thin stems, with the characteristic bend at the knee-like joint.
Finally, there are a couple of eye-catching yellow plants in flower at the Allen Noble Sanctuary in Aireys Inlet. Running Marsh-flower, Ornduffia reniformis, is flowering profusely along the edges of the water. The glossy kidney-shaped leaves float in the water, providing a contrasting display to the long-stemmed flowers with five frilled petals.
The other yellow plant, Showy Podolepis, P. jaceoides, I consider to be one of the most spectacular of our plants. It has grown so well here, and in the ANGAIR garden. November is its official month to flower, but there have been some in flower all year in the sanctuary…what a success story! Like the Yam Daisy, its buds are notable for drooping before they straighten up and open.
I wonder what lovely plants you are seeing now, and will see over the early summer? You may well need your copy of Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.