Spring flowers seem a bit late and a bit less prolific this year, maybe due to the very dry autumn and cold early spring.
For example, the small shrub Red Parrot-pea, Dillwynia hispida, has been very hard to find, even near the Anglesea Treatment Plant where it is usually very obvious.
However Showy Parrot-pea, D. sericea, and Grey Parrot-pea, D. cinerascens, with their yellow and orange, rather than red flowers are quite abundant, just difficult to tell apart.
Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet can help with this. Peas generally are a challenge to identify as we have about 16 different types in our district. I find that working my way through the list can be a useful sleep-inducing technique at night! The saying ‘Dillwynias are wingier,’ referring to the petals being more like wings, may help to differentiate these from other types of pea.
The climbing plant Love Creeper, Comesperma volubile, with tiny blue pea flowers is a favourite with most people and, in contrast, quite easy to identify. It is nearly invisible most of the year as it is mostly leafless. The slender branches twine attractively around a range of shrubs providing a splash of blue to our bush.
In our woodlands and along our roadsides the tall shrub Rusty Pomaderris, Pomaderris ferruginea, has been competing with, and is now outlasting, most of the wattles.
The tight clusters of eye-catching, cream, five-petalled flowers gradually open over a long period.
Rusty Pomaderris buds
Rusty Pomaderris flowers
I was surprised when feeling the leaves at how tactile they are with a smooth dull-green upper-surface and contrasting furry beige under-surface.
Two hot spots for flowers are Fraser Avenue in Anglesea, and Ted’s Track in Aireys inlet. Along Ted’s Track clusters of Creamy Candles, Stackhousia monogyna, usually an early spring flower, have been putting on a great show. I think their tapered upright flowers are so aptly named.
Another plant looking good at Ted’s Track is the quite large white daisy flowers of the Blunt Everlasting, Argentipallium obtusifolium. The single flowers grow in clumps, each on a thin greyish stem with sparse narrow leaves. The pointed papery petals offset the lovely, pale yellow centre.
Button Everlasting, Coronidium scorpioides, another papery daisy, but yellow, should also be in flower. The petals, or ray florets, are quite short, but I always like the large centre where masses of tiny flowers grow, as in all daisies. The central flowers mature at different times, giving it an interesting and changing appearance.
Last month I talked about the small white flowers of Early Nancy. This month another lily that looks very similar, but grows a little taller, to 45 cm, should be in flower. Milkmaids, Burchardia umbellata, has several white flowers, with a central pink ovary, growing on a single stem. The height and pinkness help to distinguish it from the shorter and purplish Early Nancy.
Finally, Blue Squill, Chamaescilla corymbosa var. corymbosa, is a blue lily which only opens on sunny days. We always hope for sunny weather at the show, otherwise these plants will be closed for our walks. It is a small flower which grows quite low to the ground, but the bright blue flowers with yellow anthers, en masse, can look quite stunning.
Enjoy your spring walks and may the sun shine!
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.