In August I’ll be walking in the heathy woodlands looking for glimpses of blue from the delightful bluish-mauve pea flowers of Common Hovea, Hovea heterophylla.
This modest, straggling, low-growing plant is a favourite of mine. The flowers grow in the leaf axils in clusters of two or three, and the longish narrow leaves are spread out along the stem. They become narrower and longer nearer the end of the stem.
What else is out right now? Along the clifftops, bushes of White Correa, Correa alba, have for weeks been displaying attractive white flowers with curled-out petals.
Sweet Wattle, Acacia suaveolens, is finally starting to have other wattle competitors. In many areas you cannot miss the rich golden clustered balls on the small trees of Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, the official floral emblem of Australia. The rich green leaf-like phyllodes form a striking contrast. Along Forest Road, Fraser Avenue, and Teds Track extension, lower bushes of Myrtle Wattle, Acacia myrtifolia, with smaller phyllodes and paler flowers are also appearing.
Look for low bushes of Small Sheoak, Allocasuarina misera. The male plants are developing orange tassels, and the female plants small, deep-red balls.
Small Sheoak male
Small Sheoak female
A common plant coming into flower in coastal areas is the delightful climber Small-leaved Clematis, Clematis microphylla, with male and female flowers on different plants. The large creamy-white starry flowers may transform bushes over which they are scrambling.
Small-leaved Clematis male
Small-leaved Clematis female
The heathland area behind Fraser Avenue has wonderful displays of flowers which I have written about in previous months. Also in the recently burnt area there are dramatic tall spikes on the Austral Grass-trees, Xanthorrhoea australis, the multitude of tiny white flowers contrasting with the burnt tree trunks around them. They are a wonderful food source for many insects and birds.
In heathland areas, low bushes of Common Beard-heath, Leucopogon virgatus var.virgatus, with short narrow, sharply-pointed leaves, are springing into flower. Their distinctive scented, fluffy flowers are worth a close look and smell…and so many more plant species are ready to flower as spring is just around the corner.