I have been really surprised to find how many red flowers there are to be seen in November.
Who can resist the stunning prostrate Dwarf Wedge-pea, Gompholobium ecostatum, (often referred to as Red-riding-hood Pea), one of our showiest plants? However, just to confuse us, they are sometimes yellow! The solitary or paired vivid red flowers stand out in amongst the short, narrow, dense leaves.
Crane’s-bill, or Geranium, is quite common in a range of habitats, and is quite a low growing scrambling plant. The deeply indented leaves resemble the much larger, tough ones of the well known introduced geranium. However the small, single or double, pale-pink five-petalled flowers superficially appear very different from the colourful globular, usually red, flower-heads on display in summer flowerboxes all over Europe. We have four species in our district, the most common being Soft Crane’s-bill, G. potentilloides var. potentilloides, with single flowers, and Variable Crane’s-bill, G. sp.2, usually with paired flowers.
Rough Crane’s-bill, G. gardneri, is only known to grow in one area, beside the road, at Allen Noble Sanctuary. A close observer will notice its coarse hairy stems, and hairy pointed sepal tips called mucros.
We have four species of pelargonium with flowers and leaves which look like smaller, more muted versions, of their larger and much showier exotic relatives. Our brightest pelargonium, Magenta Stork’s-bill, P. rodneyanum, with two to seven bright pink to magenta flowers is, unfortunately, rare in our area.
The most common, Austral Stork’s bill, P. australe, has delightful clusters of delicate pink flowers with deep red markings. We have had great success with planting it at Allen Noble sanctuary…and in my garden!
Tassel Rope-rush, Hypolaena fastigiate, is a favourite of mine despite its inconspicuousness. It’s a low-growing rush, which is currently displaying burgundy red tassels which droop and sway attractively in the breeze.
In wetland areas, such as near the Anglesea River, be on the lookout for the delicate pink terminal flowers in single or small clusters on Creeping Brookweed, Samolus repens. What an unpleasant name for such a pretty plant!
Our unique November plant is the Anglesea Grevillea, Grevillea infecunda. This plant grows as a small to medium shrub among eucalypts and heathland plants in the dry forest or woodland north-west of Aireys Inlet and Anglesea.
It is called infecunda because the flowers have infertile pollen and do not produce seed, the plants reproducing by root-suckers. Grevillea surveys carried out by Angair members in conjunction with Rani Hunt, Threatened Species Officer from DELWP, are providing evidence of healthy populations consisting of a number of different clones. We are hoping that we will be able to hear the results of this really interesting study at a social night next year.
Having discussed a number of red flowers, I always think that November is really blue month, so be on the lookout for Blue Pincushions, Fringe Lilies, Purple Flags, and Swainson-pea.