As the mellow autumn days give way to grey wintry skies, it’s a great time to enjoy a walk in the heathy woodlands.
You never know what may be on display, so remember to carry ‘Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet’ to help with identifying the plants.
Soon, golden-yellow will become the predominant colour, as the winter-flowering species of indigenous wattles bloom. Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens stands out, because of its long, narrow, widely-spaced foliage, and its clustered, fluffy, globular, cream flowers. Take the time to savour the sweet perfume.
The Varnish Wattle Acacia verniciflua is now in bud. The light green phyllodes are shiny with sticky resin, and the deep yellow, globular flower heads appear in late winter.
Other yellow flowers to seek out are those of our three Guinea-flowers: Erect Guinea-flower Hibbertia riparia, Bundled Guinea-flower H. fasciculata var. prostrata, and Silky Guinea-flower H. sericea var. sericea. These low growing shrubs have bright yellow flowers with five-notched petals.
A taller shrub, Silver Banksia Banksia marginata, has been flowering for a while now, with its cylindrical spikes of flowers being complemented by dark green leathery leaves, which are silvery underneath.
Now is also a good time to search for the small, tubular, pale green flowers of Honey-pots Acrotriche serrulata, which are hidden in amongst sharp, slender, hairy leaves. Later the flowers will become inflated and filled with nectar. Green fruit follow the flowers.
After the gentle rains and mild temperatures of early autumn, the fungi, mosses and lichens are a feature in the moister areas. Although not classified as flora, they certainly capture our attention amongst the indigenous vegetation. One to look out for is the Yellow Navel Omphalina chromacea – this small, bright yellow species has a centrally depressed cap with wavy and grooved margins, and the yellow stem is smooth and moist.