Nature In The Serra Range

By J. W. AUDAS, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Assistant, National Herbarium, Melbourne.
(Read before the Field Naturalist’s Club of Victoria, 15th Jan., 1919.)

[In our March edition we left the botanising group on the top of Mt Rosea on the first day of their two day trip in early November.]

As the country began to dip towards the Victoria Valley a fine patch of Melaleuca squamea in full bloom was met with, and in the gullies below Bauera sessiliflora was a magnificent sight. Grevillea rosmarinifolia, with its pretty rose-coloured blooms, and Trymalium Daltonii were also growing in the gullies ; the latter is a very early blooming shrub, and is at its best in July. The four Brachylomas native to Victoria were also found growing in this locality ; they were B. ericoides, B. daphnoides, B. ciliatum, and B. depressum. Following the creek which flows towards the Victoria Valley, we passed large patches of Pultenea Benthami, also P. rosea, both of which are peculiar to the Grampians. Some of the latter shrubs were especially fine here, growing to the height of fully eight feet, which is most unusual, as this plant is usually low-growing. Still keeping to the creek, we passed a peculiar rock known as ” The Monument,” adjacent to which were some fine patches of Lhotzkya genetylloides, Sprengelia incarnata, Thryptomene Mitchelliana, Melaleuca decussata, Calytrix Sullivani, Correa speciosa, and Epacris impressa ; the latter was a magnificent sight, in colours light and dark pink, and I was surprised to find it in profuse bloom at so late a period of the season. Leaving ” The Monument ” in the rear, the creek increased in size and volume of water, owing to the many tributaries joining it. On the banks was seen Epacris paludosa, with its beautiful

heads of wax-like flowers, while further down a large patch, some acres in extent, of Calectasia cyanea, or what is locally known as “Satin-flower,” presented an unusually pretty scene. Its blue flowers are delightfully glossy, and make beautiful bouquets, which last for months. Another attractive feature here was the abundance and variety of Helichrysums, the well-known everlasting daisies ; the three best noted were H. baxteri, H. bracteatum, and H. Blandowskianum, the latter being one of the most attractive everlastings. Its clusters of flower-heads are borne on stalks of almost equal whiteness, which make it valued for wedding bouquets and wreaths. Near at hand a fine waterfall was met with, fully a hundred feet in height. Mr. D’Alton was of opinion that this waterfall was not previously known, so we bestowed on it the name of Calectasia Fall, in honour of the beautiful plant growing near by. Further afield some very large patches of Boronia pilosa in full bloom was passed through, and the strong perfume emitted from this plant, especially when trodden upon, was very noticeable. For the next few miles we passed through very rough, rugged country, which made travelling extremely arduous, and on the way we noticed that the creek we had been following, and which we named Rosea Creek, on account of the large quantities of the beautiful Pultenea rosea growing near its source, had been much flooded at some previous time, as in some places the soil had been scoured out completely, while large heaps of debris were accumulated along its course. As dusk was drawing near, we decided to camp for the night, and a sheltered spot was chosen. Soon a large fire was blazing, and the billy boiled, and we were very tired and much in need of our evening meal. After partaking of same we proceeded to make things comfortable for the night by strewing ferns and eucalypt branches on the ground, over which we spread our blankets. It was necessary to keep a large fire going all the time, as the night was extremely cold.

 [Next issue will continue the report, with their second full day among the wildflowers. As noted last time the spelling of some plant names is erratic, due to the difficulty the OCR programme had with Latin words. And some names of course have changed in the last 90 years.]