Effects of fire on vegetation was the main theme for this month’s nature ramble as we visited the Anglesea Bushland Reserve where an ecological burn had been completed on half of the reserve in November 2021.

It was so exciting to see the regrowth of the various species just six months after the burn was carried out. We certainly have had good rainfall in this time and the plants have responded appropriately. We have a comprehensive plant list for this reserve compiled over a period of almost 30 years and we managed to find half the documented species as we walked through the area. Some of the emerging plants challenged us as the new growth following fire can be quite confusing. It is sometimes just so different from the mature growth of our heathland plants.

It will be interesting to add to this list as the seasons change and more plants emerge. Mandy’s sharp eyes spotted a new record for the area – a tiny sprig of Slender Platysace, Platysace heretophylla with its minute white flowers.

1platysaceheterophyllaPlatysace heretophylla var. heretophylla

checkingleaves2Group checking leaves of plants in the burnt area.

It was fun looking at the leaves of the various species that were easy to observe in the open areas.

honeypotfoliage

Margaret shows the soft foliage of Honeypots, Acrotriche serrulata, emerging in the burnt area. It is so different to the prickly vegetation of mature bushes.

We know the reserve is home territory for Southern Brown Bandicoots and we were thrilled to find what we believe were their diggings in the area. They could have been diggings from Bush Rats but we felt pretty confident that they were those of the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

4southernbrownbandicootdiggingsMargaret and Gail observe the diggings believed to be those of Southern Brown Bandicoot

Fire not only stimulates growth of our indigenous flora but also of undesirable species. We added a number of introduced species to our plant list. An area of wattle seedlings was a worry. Some could be identified as Sweet Wattle, Acacia suaveolens, but there were certainly some others that will need to be removed.

5wattleseedlingsGail observes a large area of wattle seedlings

6cryptandratomentosaPrickly Crytpandra

The Prickly Cryptandra, Cryptandra tomentosa, was coming into flower, while the Erect Guinea Flower, was keen to show some early bright yellow flowers.

7bhibbertiaripariaErect Guinea Flower

8uncertainspecies

There was one plant that we were unfamiliar with. We felt it might be Hedgehog Grass but are awaiting confirmation. It was certainly bristly in appearance.
Carl later identified it as Grey-beard Grass, Amphipogon strictus var. setifer.

9leporellafimbriataFringed Hare Orchid

With Margaret as leader the group did expect to see at least one orchid species in flower and we were rewarded with great viewing of the Fringed Hare Orchid, Leporella fimbriata, with just so many distinctive red-veined leaves and the dainty flowers almost hiding amongst the trackside vegetation. They were not in the burnt area but possibly the smoke had encouraged germination as there were certainly many more than usual. The erect petals, or the Hare’s ears, end in reddish-brown, club-shaped tips with the glands exuding a scent that attracts male flying Baby Bull-ants, Myrmercia urens, which pollinate the flower. We looked but were not successful in observing any ants – although it was a nice day, perhaps not warm enough to encourage pollination.

9bleporellafimbriataleavesFringed Hare Orchid leavew

We also observed a few Bearded Midge Orchids, Corunastylis morrisii, but they had finished flowering for this year.

It was interesting to walk through the unburnt area and to compare the vegetation of the two areas. The plan is to burn the second section in a few years time once the first section has recovered.

Marg MacDonald
Images: Kaye Traynor, Paul Wright

Events Calendar

Dec
9

Fri 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Dec
12

Mon 9:00am - 11:00am

Dec
13

Tue 9:00am - 11:30am

Dec
13

Tue 9:30am - 11:00am

Ten ways to get involved

showypodolepsissmall

There are lots of different ways that you can get involved in protecting habitats, conserving biodiversity and enhancing the natural beauty of the area around Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Learn more

Make a Donation

Sign up for membership

Angair membership gives you access to a range of great activities and benefits. Learn more about all these benefits as well as how to sign up and renew.

Sign Up

Get to know your local Friends groups

There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide Angair members and the community with opportunities for involvement.

Find a local group

Go to top