I am finding it really hard to see so many of our plants suddenly browning off and curling up in the summer heat after the wonderful, luscious growth we have been seeing until recently.
However the summer conditions are perfect for two of our most common and iconic trees which are in full flower. Moona Melaleuca lanceolata is covered in small, creamy-white, bottle-brush-like flowers.
Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua has creamy clusters of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie flowers. These widespread trees provide an important food source for so many of our birds, bees and other creatures.
I have been delighted to see two lovely blue/purple herbs in flower.
Branching Fringe Lily Thysanotus juncifolius, an upright leafless plant, has delightful bright violet to purple flowers, with three distinctive delicately fringed petals.
Tall Lobelia Lobelia gibbosa is quite stunning with its succulent reddish stems, and vivid blue, uneven petals. It is worth a close look at the three outward spreading petals and the two petals gently curled back towards the stem.
On the cliff tops, Sea-box Alyxia buxifolia is a great sight with its small, white, propeller-like flowers. These really stand out in amongst the shiny oval dark green leaves which were was used by aborigines as a cure for dysentery.
Nodding Saltbush Einadia nutans can be found on dry rocky sites. It is a sprawling, ground- hugging, wiry plant with masses of arrowhead shaped leaves of variable size. The insignificant, tiny cream/greenish flowers are being followed by eye-catching small soft, bright red berries.
If you look closely when walking, you may see clusters of tiny white flowers intermingled with a range of plants. These belong to one of the much maligned, parasitic Dodder-laurels, and is called Slender Dodder-laurel Cassytha glabella. However this plant, with its very fine stems, does not seem to unduly harm the host plant.
A new flower for me, but possibly only of interest to the plant-fanatic, is the Cherry Ballart Exocarpos cupressiformis. The inconspicuous spikes of yellowish-green flowers are copious, but each spike will only bear one fruit.
In the heathlands I have found my first ‘sensory’ plant for the year. However the leaves of Persoonia juniperina Prickly Geebung are well named, and not nice to touch. I always find it exciting to suddenly see the lovely yellow flowers, with curled back petals, appearing in amongst the inhospitable foliage.
Remember to take your ‘Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet’ as there maybe unexpected finds in amongst the drooping plants.