I have been really enjoying the wonderful displays of Moonah Melaleuca lanceolata this month. These trees, with their copious, bottlebrush, white flowers, seem to be around every corner. Sweet Bursaria Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa, another common plant, has also been ablaze with white flowers and colourful butterflies. The attractive, bisected, purse-like seedpods are now forming, starting green, then will turn bronze-brown.
On the cliff tops, Seabox Alyxia buxifolia is a great sight with its small, white, propeller-like flowers being replaced by quite sizeable berries, which start green, then turn bright orange-red.
A favourite of mine is Coastal Beard-heath Leucopogon parviflorus, a common coastal bush. I enjoy tasting the small, single white berries, which are now forming and are greatly enjoyed by birds.
Seaberry Saltbush Rhagodia candolleana, another common coastal plant that often scrambles over other plants, is also coming into fruit. The clusters of berries are initially small and insignificant, but gradually turn into sprays of soft, juicy, dark-red berries. I understand they were eaten by aborigines, but I would not recommend them, as they taste quite bitter.
Recently, I was very excited to see the delightful Small-leaf Glycine Glycine microphylla in flower. This plant is new to me, and rare in our district. The small blue flowers with a purple tinge are similar to the better-known Twining Glycine G. clandestina. The three, lance-shaped leaves are a distinctive feature of both these species, but the Small-leaf Glycine has stipules (small appendages at the base of the leaflets) on all three leaflets, while Twining Glycine has them only at the base of two of the leaflets.
Three is also a distinctive feature of my ‘smelly’ flower of the month, as the small pointed buds of Manna Gum Eucalyptus viminalis are usually in threes. These buds are now blossoming with delightful white ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ flowers, which are special, as they smell just like honey and appear to be very attractive to bees. The aborigines used the long thin leaves to produce smoke and believed the smoke reduced fever. Enjoy seeing and smelling, and make sure carry Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.