In December I wrote about the ‘massed clusters of tiny, scented white flowers’ on the Tree Everlasting, Ozothamnus ferrugineus.
Recently I noticed several fine specimens of these large shrubs beside the Anglesea tennis courts, but had incorrectly decided that they were Common Cassinia, Cassinia aculeata. When I went for a closer look, I discovered that the flowers were actually Tree Everlasting as they were open and in large, rounded clusters whereas Cassinia flowers are closed and in flattish clusters.
The previous day I had been to Harrisons Track and seen beautiful examples of the Cassinia, some of which were covered in butterflies. It always pays to have close look as plants can be tricky, and flowering at the same time also makes it easy to confuse them. Another way to identify these two species is to look at the leaves, especially when they are not flowering. The narrow leaves are thinner in the Cassina, and running a fingernail along the top surface of the slightly wider leaves of Tree Everlasting will dislodge some of the waxy surface.
A pleasant surprise on Harrisons Track and Teds Track was seeing the flowers on small shrubs of Prickly Geebung, Persoonia juniperina. I always enjoy seeing these small yellow tubular flowers with four curling petals hiding in amongst the sharp, needle-like leaves. This bush, with its pale-green leaves, tends to stand out amongst the dominant dark-green and blue-green of so many Australian plants.
Our only banksia, the Silver Banksia, B. marginata, is defying the summer heat by displaying some fresh pale-green leaf growth and new flower spikes.
The young flower spikes are pale-green then yellow, and form a contrast to the old dark-green leathery leaves, and brown cones that may resemble the ‘big bad banksia men’ of author May Gibbs.
Banksia cone with seeds
In contrast, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie flowers may be found on Manna Gums, Eucalyptus viminalis subsp. viminalis. The flowers are usually grouped in threes, but can be in clusters of seven.
Along Teds track, the nodding, fluffy, pale-yellow flower heads on the small shrubs of Woolly Rice-flower, Pimelia octophylla, are holding on and nice to see, though looking somewhat droopy.
For me, the flower of the month for February is always Ixodia, I. achillaeoides subsp. alata. I am hoping the newly planted one in my garden will flower this year as its striking clusters of shining, white, papery flowers with brown centres make a fine display.
The bright-green leaves are narrow, and may be sticky to touch. Ixodia Track, which runs beside the Great Ocean Road on the north side of Anglesea, should be the place to find these (no surprise there!). Fine specimens may also be found in exposed locations along cliff tracks, for example at the end of Hurst Road.
Summer, with its heat and dryness, can surprise us, so be sure to keep your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet at hand.