We've certainly been having some really wintery weather making for debates about going out in it. But of course it is worth it to see the varied flora in this area.

From tall eucalypts to tiny flowering plants there is plenty to see. In the heathland near the coast Silver Banksia Banksia marginata is still flowering. These plants seem to flower for months providing high energy food for birds and animals. The Paper-flower Thomasia petalocalyx is widespread,too and still showing its delicate pinkish-mauve flowers. The common name of this plant is confusing as many everlasting daisies are called paper flowers and are not remotely like the Thomasia which has loose racemes of flowers and small dull green leaves often with wavy edges. A small shrub it is an attractive addition to any garden.

Paper Flower

Another small gem of the heathland, Prickly Cryptandra Cryptandra tomentosa is flowering well, the recent rain seems to have given the plants extra vigour. The plants I noticed were covered in blooms showing off the white tubular flowers which shade to pink as they age.

Prickly Cryptandra

Correas too are flowering well, though in my garden the plants are stripped of their blooms very quickly by Crimson Rosellas. I don't have the heart to shoo these parrots away as they really make a beautiful sight on the bush. Eastern Spinebills are very busy too but are not destructive. It is interesting that in the bush you may see several correas growing together but each plant will have a slightly different shade of red in the flower. On the Anglesea cliffs east of the river the red of some plants is quite deep whereas close by the shade is paler.

Wattles are coming into their own as we move further into winter. Sweet Wattle Acacia suaveolens is still flowering, Myrtle Wattle Acacia myrtifolia with yellower flowers is coming into bloom as is the Spike Wattle Acacia oxycedrus and the Varnish Wattle Acacia verniciflua. The Spike Wattle is a rigid shrub with flower heads in dense axillary spikes, the Varnish Wattle often has pendulous branches, leaves are resinous, hence the common name, and the flowers are quite large balls.

Sweet Wattle

Varnish Wattle

Eathorne Mitchell

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