Last month, I wrote that ‘the seed pods of Sweet Bursaria (B. spinosa) resembled a bosun’s purse, hence the name’. Fortunately, this time an eagle-eyed member (thank you Mandy) checked, and the name has nothing to do with a bosun.
Bursa, meaning a purse, is Latin, and the seed-case looks like a purse and may ‘rattle’ like money in a purse. The brown flattened capsules are currently turning a milk chocolate colour and, as Enid Mayfield says in Flora of the Otways Ranges ‘open at the top like a purse to release the seeds’.
On the nature walk at Distillery Creek I was pleased to get quite close to cloud-like displays of seeds, carried on feathery awns, of the female plants of the Mountain Clematis, C. aristata. It flowers in late spring, several months after the better-known and easy to see Small-leaved Clematis, and grows usually too high up to see clearly.
In my garden I am enjoying colourful displays of tiny bright red berries on the hardy self-sown prostrate plants of Nodding Saltbush, Einadia nutans subs.nutans.
Along the cliff tops, the spreading shrubs of White Correa, C. alba var. alba, are displaying their four-petalled curling flowers. I was able to photograph one which had small black ants in the flower centre, and wondered if they were the pollinators.
On a recent walk, when I was admiring the luscious red berries on female plants of Seaberry Saltbush, Rhagodia candolleana sub. candolleana, I managed to photograph a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo enjoying a succulent meal.
Allen Noble Sanctuary, as usual, provides much to enjoy. Low bushes of Milky Beauty-heads, Calocephalus lacteus, with soft grey foliage, currently have large numbers of single, white, oblong, button-like flower-heads.
A real contrast are the few remaining purple flowers on the tall bushes of Large Kangaroo Apple, Solanum laciantum, and the acorn-sized, dangling, green to yellow-orange oval fruits.
Large Kangaroo Apple
In the September video taken at the sanctuary I highlighted Red-fruit Saw-sedge, Gahnia sieberiana, with multiple pendulous brown fronds. It is now looking much more interesting, with the fresh fronds covered in flowers displaying eye-catching pale-green stamens. The tiny red fruits should soon follow.
Last of all is an unspectacular but very special plant, Rough Crane’s-bill, Geranium gardneri, which is unknown anywhere else in the district. It is one of our low-growing native geraniums, and is currently bearing tiny pink flowers. The distinctive features are the coarse hairy stems and the single flowers with long, hairy, pointed sepal tips called mucros, both of which are hard to see because the bushes are very low.
Autumn has much to offer the observant plant lover.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.