The last post of the year. I feel like I should make an extra effort but the season’s festivities have taken their toll. Yesterday we visited Maleny Botanic garden, which was very interesting, but full of exotics. I could do six from there, but instead I’m going to give you six indigenous plants to end the year.
Along the east coast of Australia are a number of sand islands, the nearest of which, and the most accessible, is Bribie Island. It is only barely separated from the mainland at the north end and is accessed at the south end by a road bridge. The southern end of the island has been built on, with some pretty swanky housing all with moorings for pretty swanky boats. The bulk of the island though is a mix of conservation areas and forestry, with limited access on sand roads. I parked up and walked in on the access road then cut off onto tracks prohibited to vehicles. The are large areas of open heathland with an abundance of wild flowers. There are apparently 542 species native to the island and the species list makes impressive reading.
Callistemon pachyphyllus. This is not the first time I’ve seen Bottlebrush growing and flowering in the wild, but I still got pretty exited about it. I doubt whether this species would be hardy in the UK but it is very similar to some that are.
Banksia sp. I need to go back and have a more careful look at the various Banksia species to try and work out what this is. Perhaps B. robur. Most of the banksias I saw were small trees, 5-8m tall, but they had finished flowering. This one was a small plant at the edge of a pool covered by blue flowered water lilies and shaded by a few paperbark tea trees, Melaleuca quinquenervia.
Grass trees. The native plant list includes three species of Xanthorrhoea and I have no idea which of them these are. They are growing in an area that when we first saw it six years ago, was recovering from a recent fire. The grass trees seem less well able to survive fire than the Banksias amongst which they grow, but they recover from seeds on the ground and can form quite dense stands.
Blechnum indicum. Bungwall fern or Swamp water fern. There are extensive areas of this fern, usually in the wetter areas, often in water. It has very handsome fishbone pattern leaves which emerge flushed red. There is only one Blechnum listed in the plant inventory so I presume this to be it; in other places I have seen similar ferns that are just as ornamental.
Leptospermum spp. There are 8 species in the list, including L. liversidgei, which I have grown in the UK. There were lots of similar things flowering profusely, recognizable as Leptospermum but whether one variable species or several different ones I could not say. On a couple of occasions I tried to get nearer to plants but found my way blocked by a roadside ditch of indeterminate depth. And diving into dense vegetation never seems such a great idea when there are probably snakes about and you’re on your own a fair way from the nearest proper road. I didn’t see any snakes, but then you don’t, that’s the problem.
Restionaceae spp. Another live and learn moment. I thought restios were from South Africa with maybe one or two outlier species in Australia. Bribie has 12 species. They are everywhere there, to the point that in some places they have been mown along the edges of the roads. They’re common in the dry forests around here as well, and very attractive. I’ve popped a couple of Bribie fauna pictures in here too. A roo and a red-backed fairy-wren.
That’s my six for this week, hope you found them interesting. I’ve been keeping half an eye on the weather back in blighty and feeling a little sorry for you all. I walked into the one room in this house with air-con on earlier, set at 24°C, and it was like walking into a fridge. It’s much hotter than I like, I’m OK visiting, but I wouldn’t want to live here. Reading everybody else’s northern hemisphere posts keeps me grounded. So I’m off to follow the links from The Propagator. It’s 6pm here, so still only 8am in the UK. Has he posted yet?