Profuse October flowering has more than made up for the slow start to spring last month.
I had intended this month to just highlight the colour blue as there are several plants, lilies in particular, that are in flower. I have seen many of the delicate mauve flowers of Twining Fringe-lily, Thysanotis patersonii, attractively adorning low vegetation. It always amazes me to remember that each small flower with its delightful fringed petals, lasts only about one day.
Look out for the dangling Dianella Flax-lilies. The long strap-like leaves have a marked central vein which, when not flowering, help to distinguish them from other plants with similar leaves. We have two main Flax-lilies, Coast Flax-lily, D. brevicaulis, with flower stems shorter than the dense foliage, and Black-anther Flax-lily, D. admixta, with stems taller than the less dense foliage. Botanists are undecided about whether the latter is a variety of Dianella revoluta. The blue, star-shaped blue flowers of both have striking bright yellow swellings at the base of the black anthers which dangle below the petals and sepals.
A walk along Ted’s Track persuaded me that I could not limit this month’s colour to blue, as this track was a sea of yellow, despite the wattles having finished flowering. The most common plant was Erect Guinea-flower, Hibbertia riparia, which I had seen in bud in August, but was now sporting rich yellow flowers with five evenly spaced petals. The stiff narrow greyish leaves spread along the stems, differentiating it from the other two Guinea-flowers of our district.
Further along the track large, open bushes of Large-leaf Bush-pea, Pultenaea daphnoides, were standing out with masses of orange-yellow pea flowers. I really appreciate plants like this which have unique characteristics making them easy to identify. In this case it is the flat-wedge-shaped leaves with a marked central vein ending in a sharp stiff tip.
An absolute favourite of mine, also yellow, is flourishing in the Allen Noble Sanctuary, the stunning single golden flower-heads of Showy Podolepis, Podolepis jaceoides. I think that these are the largest flowers in our district, and they look so interesting with the numerous tubular florets in the centre in different stages of maturity. The new buds are also appealing as, like a number of daisies, the hairy pods droop attractively before straightening and opening.
Long Purple-flags, Patersonia occidentalis, form a striking background to these yellow flowers with their large three-petalled blue-violet flowers standing up above the clumps of long, flat leaves. The flowers last only a day but there are new flowers to follow as maybe glimpsed in my photo.
Allen Noble sanctuary is such a delight now but I will only highlight one more plant there, very rare in our district, Coarse Crane’s bill, Geranium gardneri. There are just few plants on the roadside near the entrance from the Great Ocean Road.
Coarse Crane’s bill
A close look will reveal the hairy nature of the stems, and the sepals at the base of the flowers which also have long pointed tips. It looks very similar to the other geraniums such as Variable Crane’s-bill, Geranium sp 2, which has similar paired or single flowers, but it is much less hairy and has shorter sepal tips.
Coarse Crane’s bill closeup
Another delight to be found there is three cygnets as, after a year of absence, we have a family of swans again.
Finally, a white daisy, the aptly named Cypress Daisy-bush, Olearia teretifolia, due to its cypress-like foliage. This is currently covered in small white daisies, very visible at O‘Donohues, and along the cliff top trail to Point Roadknight.
There is so much to see that your Flowers of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet is essential…enjoy!