It has been a good summer for the widespread Sweet Bursaria, Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa.
I am really enjoying the one near my back door with its masses of fragrant, creamy, star-like flowers attracting swarms of insects.
Soon clusters of small, purse-like seed-pods will develop, starting a delicate pale green, then soft-beige, and finally turning a deep, rich brown. I have been very careful to plant it at the back of the garden, as the spiky foliage which is so useful for keeping birds safe, is tough on human skin.
I am also watching the buds on my one specimen of Ixodia, Ixodia achillaeoides subsp. alata. This stunning plant can be found in quite exposed and inhospitable locations, growing to about 1.5m, and will soon have dense clusters of shining, white, papery daisy-like flowers. The rich-green, narrow leaves tend to curl downwards. The aptly named Ixodia Track in Anglesea is a good place to find them.
My garden is currently looking quite colourful, due to the small, soft, bright-red berries on the many ground-hugging, wiry plants of Nodding Saltbush, Einadia nutans subsp. nutans. This plant, with arrowhead shaped leaves of variable size, clearly thrives in dry exposed sites.
On the Nature Circuit Track at Moggs Creek Picnic Ground, look out for the eye-catching red berries of the Prickly Currant-bushes, Coprosma quadrifida. This plant looks similar to Sweet Bursaria, which also has spines and small leaves. However, a close look reveals that the Currant-bush has leaves which are pointed and opposite, while the leaves of Sweet Bursaria are alternate and more rounded.
On the cliff tops at Aireys Inlet, Sea-box, Alyxia buxifolia, is a great sight with its small, white, propeller-like flowers. These really stand out amongst the shiny, oval, dark-green leathery leaves which were used by indigenous people as a cure for dysentery.
Messmate Gum, Eucalyptus obliqua, the most widespread of our eucalypts, and, as we learned at the fire talk in November, also the most fire-prone due to its very flammable stringy bark, is in flower in the woodlands. The abundant, clustered cream flowers remind me of May Gibbs’ illustrations of the Gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Recently I have been pleased to find updated versions of some of her stories to read to my granddaughter. What a delightful way to introduce small children to some of our unique native flora and fauna.
In a range of locations, the large and erect Blackwood Wattle, Acacia melanoxylon, is bearing and dropping copious numbers of twisted, narrow, leathery seedpods. They open out to display numerous black seeds, surrounded by a conspicuous fleshy salmon pink aril which attaches the seed to the wall of the pod.
There is also much to see in wetlands, but more of that next time. Remember to take your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet on your summer rambles.