I have just loved walking in the bush and seeing how our plants have revived after the rain – and with that wonderful ‘bush smell’.
While this is a low period for flowering, there is some brilliant ‘May Magic’ to be found, in particular, with two of our heaths. Top spot must be our State emblem, Pink Heath Epacris impressa. However we call it Common Heath, as we are privileged to have it flower in a range of colours. May is the listed flowering time, but in our district it is possible to find specimens in flower somewhere, any time of the year. I have been seeing mainly very bright pink to scarlet, a real standout amongst the stronger, wintery green foliage all around.
An even brighter heath may be found at our feet, with the red flowers of the prostrate Cranberry Heath Astroloma humifusum.
Both plants, with their tubular flowers and short spiky foliage, are from the same family Ericaceae, which we studied in our last microscope group. I recommend using a magnifier to see how the stamens are fused to the inside of the floral tube. Also check out the leaves of Cranberry Heath, as the undersides have a beautiful pattern of pale and dark stripes.
There is yet another colourful plant brightening up our heathlands with strong pink to red tubular flowers, the ever-popular Common Correa Correa reflexa.
Our other correa, White Correa Correa alba, may also be found in flower along the cliff tops, with the white tubular petals often curling back.
Above the White Correa you may see the warm glow of orange tassels at the end of the branchlets of the male plants of Drooping Sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata.
Similarly look out for the upright tassels on the branchlets of more inland Black Sheoak A. littoralis.
The female sheoaks have the nuts, and currently small, globular orange to reddish flowers along the branches.
The warmish damp autumn weather is perfect for fungi. These are not plants but have their own classification group, and so require a whole different study and knowledge.
Enjoy your late autumn walks, as it is a really pleasant time to be out and about, and remember to carry your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys inlet.