With the onset of autumn, you will notice that the bushland is less colourful and more muted in tone.
However in your rambles this month you should look out for some of the following plants:
Eucalyptus obliqua Messmate is a common and widespread medium to tall tree with string-like bark, and a dense crown of glossy dark green leaves. It usually has a straight trunk, but where it grows near coastal sandy sites it can be somewhat stunted/twisted. The bark is always fibrous, brown and fissured, but greyish on the outside. The curved leaves can reach 15 cm long and are asymmetrical. Buds are in clusters of 7-15. The cream-coloured flowers appear from December to March and exude a strong honey scent. The wineglass shaped fruits have three to four valves that open to release the seeds. The valves are below the rim of the fruit. The wood is used extensively for general construction and poles and is rated ‘fair’ for heat production.
When walking near the coastal dunes or along the river banks at Anglesea you will find Rhagodia candolleana Seaberry Saltbush. This is a vigorous shrub up to 3m that scrambles over fallen logs and fences. Its green to bluish-grey leaves are 10-30mm long and often have two blunt lobes near the lower part of the leaf. At present its clusters of deep wine-red berries make it an attractive plant in the bush. It can be a good hedge plant in the home garden. There are separate male and female plants.
Another gem you may come across in similar habitat is Threlkeldia diffusa Coast Bonefruit. It is a small woody loosely-spreading perennial, with pale green, cylindrical, hairless leaves and small bi-sexual flowers in the leaf axils. In autumn the leaves display an attractive pinkish mauve colour. With maturity, the purplish fruit becomes very hard, hence the common name.
Leucopogon parviflorus Coast Beard-heath is also common along the riverbank and on the dunes. These are small prostrate shrubs to small trees, with pointed alternate leaves and white flowers in spikes in the leaf axils. The fruit is white when ripe and attractive to birds. The shrub is covered in fruit (white berries) at present.
Along the cliffs and coastal dunes, you are sure to see Ozothamnus turbinatus Coast Everlasting which grows to about 1.5 m. It has stiff, narrow, bright green leaves 2cm long with rolled margins. The leaves are woolly and white on the underside. Cream tubular florets, surrounded by hairy yellow bracts, form conical flower heads in late summer.
Costermans, L.F. 1994 5th edn Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas, Costermans Publishing, Frankston
MacDonald, M (ed) 2009, Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, Inverted Logic, Melbourne
Mayfield, E. 2013, Flora of the Otway plain & ranges 2, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood