Haven’t our iconic moonahs, Melaleuca lanceolata, been a wonderful sight?
Their small, white, ‘bottle-brush’ flowers densely cover the trees and form swathes of white along foreshore areas.
Along coastal areas, such as the cliff top walk at Aireys Inlet, look out for another large, dense, spreading shrub Coast Everlasting, Ozothamnus turbinatus. It has clusters of cream flowers which often attract insects such as colourful moths.
My plant of the month has to be Creeping Monkey-flower, Thyridia repens (changed from Mimulus repens). This prostrate plant with crowded tiny stalkless leaves has delightful mauve flowers with a downy yellow centre which remind me of butterflies. It may be seen along the damp river edges in Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.
Along the cliff tops, this month is a good time to see the white, propeller-like flowers, and the lush orange-red berries on the dense shrubs of Sea-box, Alyxia buxifolia.
In fact, berries and other types of seed are everywhere to be seen. I have a love/hate relationship with Seaberry Saltbush, Rhaghodia candolleana subs. candolleana. It is such a vigorous plant and readily engulfs surrounding vegetation. However, its sprays of lush dark red berries are eye-catching. Only the female plants have the berries, male plants have green flowers. I had a close look and was surprised to see stamens and pollen on the tips of the tiny male flowers. Allen Noble Sanctuary is currently being overtaken by this plant.
Also doing well there is Nodding Saltbush, Einadia nutans subsp. nutans, with tiny bright-orange berries hiding in amongst the foliage. This is a very effective ground cover and is vying with Seaberry Saltbush to take over my garden.
Another unexpected find at the sanctuary was red berries inside and along the brown plumes of Red-fruit Saw-sedge, Gahnia sieberiana.
The very large sedge with long arched leaves and plumes can be quite spectacular.
On a ramble along Ted’s Track I could only see dried-up remnants of spring and summer flowers, but then my
eye caught sight of the Woolly Rice-flower, Pimelea octophylla, which I wrote about last month. The flowers have been replaced by seed heads in the form of tiny, delicate, white pompoms, which I had never really noticed before.
So many plants have interesting seed heads which are worth a closer look, such as Milkmaids, Burchardia umbellata, which has a cluster (umbel) of dried brown capsules atop a single erect stem.
Keep looking around on your walks and be sure to take your copy of Flora of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet with you.