At last spring is here, and everywhere there are flowers with their delightful colours and scents.
On the cliff tops, I have been surrounded by the scent from the tiny, starry, four-petalled yellow flowers of Bower Spinach, Tetragonia implexicoma, as it drapes itself over other plants and fences.
Nearby, the bushes of Coast Beard-heath, Leucopogon parviflorus, with their clusters of tiny, white flowers with delicately fringed petals have also been a pleasure to smell and so has the Common Beard-heath, Leucopogon virgatus var. virgatus, a shrub growing in the heathlands.
I always feel that spring is truly here when I see small clumps of the low-growing, erect spikes of Creamy Candles, Stackhousia monogyna. What a wonderfully appropriate name! They also have a lovely fragrance. I understand it is especially strong at night, but have never been anywhere at the right time to appreciate this.
There are so many daisies to enjoy this month. Two are very similar, and early spring is the best time to see the difference. In moist forests, such as around the Distillery Creek Nature Trail, the tall bushes of Dusty Daisy-bush, Olearia phlogopappa var. phlogopappa, have profuse clusters of attractive white flowers which are very similar to Snowy Daisy-bush, Olearia lirata.
A close look will reveal that the Dusty Daisy-bush flower has a bright yellow centre, eventually fading to look similar to Snowy Daisy-bush, which has a creamier centre. The Snowy Daisy-bush usually has bigger leaves, which can be a distinguishing feature, but I find the variations in size unreliable.
The profuse flowers of Cypress Daisy-bush, Olearia teretifolia, are a feature of the roadside coming into Anglesea, and the heathland and woodlands near O’Donohue Rd. This quite compact bush with cypress-like foliage can be completely covered in tiny daisy flowers.
Be on the watch for Blunt Everlasting, Argentipallium obtusifolium, an attractive, papery, white daisy with a yellow centre, which grows in clumps up to 35cm high. The sparse leaves are quite small and insignificant.
In the heathlands you may see the single white flowers of Heath Daisy, Allittia uliginosa. It is quite a delicate daisy and a close look will reveal a surprise – the white flower is mauve underneath.
There are so many species of peas, or ‘egg and bacon’ flowers, I was going to leave them out. However, I was entranced recently when walking through the Allen Noble Sanctuary. The Rough Bush-pea, Pultenaea scabra, was about to burst into flower with an amazing display of the small yellow flowers with red markings. The distinctive small heart-shaped leaves ensure that it is one of the few peas that are easy to identify.
Have you noticed the bright yellow flowers on the bushes of Soft Bush-pea, Pultenaea mollis, which is widespread in places such as the Anglesea scout camp? I enjoy running the fine foliage through my fingers.
Another plant to look out for is Slender Bush-pea, Pultenaea tenuifolia, a matted, low-growing shrub, that is becoming quite common along the cliff tops at Aireys Inlet. It has abundant tiny, hooded, yellow flowers with red markings.
I could write more but will leave the rest to you with the help of Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.