Despite the summer drought many plants are coping well with the lack of rain and are still managing to look healthy, and we saw some beautiful butterflies.

Female Common Brown Heteronympha merope. As their name suggests, they are very common. The males are much smaller and have a different wing pattern. The males fly in spring and early summer and the larger females from early summer to autumn.

A group of us walked along Ixodia Track for the Nature Ramble in February and saw plenty of healthy plants, some in flower. At the start of the track, the tall pine trees [introduced] are not the more common Pinus radiata, but the Pinus maritima, with lovely ‘stained-glass window’ bark, and the needles in groups of 2. Large patches of Sandhill Sword-sedge Lepidospermum concavum, with concave leaves, still had their dark flowers in evidence, and we spent some time trying to identifying grasses.

Which grass is this?

However, the star of the track was Ixodia achillaeoides, which flowers at the height of summer. The white, papery, daisy-like flowers stand out in great contrast to the dull greens and browns of the other foliage.

Ixodia flowers

Have you noticed that they close when it rains or there are heavy dews? These flowers last for many months if picked and put in a vase in the home.

Let's check the book

Along the track, we saw a fine example of the Anglesea Grey-gum Eucalyptus litoralis, The very long leaves of this tree are one of its main features, plus the flattened flower-stem and the fruit, generally in groups of sevens.

How many fruits does the Grey-gum have?

The walk ended at the water-hole which usually has the croaking of many frogs to advise you of its presence.

Dried up water-hole with Rushes

In the dry conditions, however, there was sadly no water and so no frog calls, but the Rushes looked quite striking with their large brown flower-heads.


We then turned round and retraced our steps back to the cars.

Chris Morrissey


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