This month I am again highlighting red flowers.
Red Parrot-pea, Dillwynia hispida, is a favourite of mine. It has an elegant growth habit and rich, red pea flowers with the distinctive spreading petals of the Parrot-peas…Dillwynia are wingier! It is not as common as the other three species but is much easier to identify due to its rich colour. I always find it in the heathlands near the Anglesea treatment plant.
Austral Indigo, Indigo australis, which I wrote about in August, only started to really flower in mid-September. It is such a pretty spreading shrub with delicate looking mauve-pink, pea flowers. This plant tends to grow in groups in shaded areas, and has attractive smallish, oval, paired leaves. It responds well to pruning and I love having it in my garden.
The pale-pink flowers on the Grass Trigger-plant, Stylidium graminifolium, and the brighter pink flowers on the more rare Common Trigger-plant, S. armeria, are always great to see, and it is fun to show children the ‘trigger’. The flower’s stalk rises to about 60 cm, bearing spikes of flowers, each flower with a trigger composed of the style and stamens fused together. This hits the back of the pollinator in order to have it release pollen collected from other flowers, and place it onto the stigma.
Paper Flower, Thomasia petalocalyx, is an attractive and hardy plant growing in a variety of locations, including coastal heathlands and heathy woodlands. An easy place to see it is the Allen Noble sanctuary. The mauvish-pink papery flowers nod gracefully in amongst the very hairy soft foliage. The flower is similar to the Velvet Bush described last month, as the pink ‘petals’ are actually sepals. The minute red petals may be absent, or at the base of the central sexual organs. Have a look under a good hand lens…fascinating!
Silky Teatree, Leptospermum myrsinoides, a common low-spreading shrub, may be covered in white or pinky-white flowers. Teatrees are easy plants to walk past with just a quick glance, but the soft crinkly petals are worth a closer look.
Common Fringe-myrtle, Calytrix tetragona, is beautiful heath-like shrub, but unfortunately not common here. I just love to see the showy dense clusters of starry pink flowers. It grows on drier heathland ridges, for example beside Bald Hills Road. There are usually some good specimens in Grass Trees Park in Torquay…maybe stop off when you are visiting Bunnings!
To finish, I have to diverge from red and highlight a relatively uncommon plant, with small but stunning dark blue flowers, which only appear after fires or disturbance. Tufted Lobelia, L. rhombifolia, is currently growing in a recently burnt area in Anglesea beside Harvey Street, near Messmate track. There are many clumps of these little beauties in amongst an amazing array of orchids. The single flowers, growing on the end of slender, upright, branched stems, have a distinctive uneven petal arrangement. They look a bit like three large outstretched fingers, palm up, and two tiny curled-up central fingers above the white throat.
Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet is a real necessity this month as there is so much to see!