I have been really enjoying my early winter walks, as it has been three years since I have been here in the first half of winter.

All the plants are looking so green and happy, and the Common Heath Epacris impressa has been just stunning.

Common Heath

Along the cliff tops, the modest flower clusters of Pimelea serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia Thyme Rice-flower are really worth a close look. It is a dioecious plant, which means that the male and female flowers are on different plants. The female flowers are in pale yellow, tight clusters, which span out sideways, displaying tiny, bulbous, vase-shaped flowers.

Female Thyme Rice-flower

The male flowers are more upright and more obvious, as they have bright yellow stamens in the centre of the four-petalled flowers.

Male Thyme Rice-flower

In the past, I did not know they were different, and only photographed the more colourful male flowers, assuming the females were immature flowers.

Another July special, and a hidden treasure of the heathlands, may be brought to your attention by the sight of honeyeaters diving into the base of low vegetation. They could be after the swollen contents of the small, but voluptuous, flowers of the appropriately named, Acrotriche serrulata, Honey-pots, which are to be found at the base of the woody stems.

Honeypots

Brachyscome multifida Cut-leaf Daisy is a variable plant, which seems to have been in flower forever in my garden; I found it also in flower in the forest.

Cut-leaf Daisy from garden

My garden variety is a vigorous plant with delightful blue-pink flowers, while the wild plant had finer foliage and scraggly white flowers.

Cut-leaf Daisy in forest

So much for those I might expect to see in flower in a normal winter, for I have been surprised to find examples of all sorts of plants in flower; they appear to have been tricked by the warm spell.  A spectacle in coastal heathlands is the Spyridium vexilliferum var. vexilliferum Propeller Plant, with its bushes covered in flowers, each made up of three, white, floral leaves surrounding tiny clusters of flowers.

Propeller Plant

One still, crisp day recently, I was walking along the cliff tops, and was suddenly aware of the most glorious scent. On looking around I discovered not one, but two types of common plants which were the ‘culprits’ – the tiny, yellow, four-petalled flowers of the cascading Tetragonia implexicoma Bower Spinach, and Leucopogon parviflorus Coast Beard-heath, with its  bushes covered in erect spikes of white flowers, the petals with fluffy edges. In windy July it may be necessary to get right down to the plants to enjoy their sweet aromas.

Bower Spinach

Coast Beard-heath

Other surprises have included flowers on Hibbertia, Goodenia Guinea-flower, Dillwyinia Parrot-pea, Pultenea Bush-pea, and some varieties of Acacia Wattles.

I am finding it quite exciting – I wonder what you might find, so be sure to carry Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

Ellinor Campbell

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