HISTORY: Final installment of 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 last few issues we have been publishing Audas’s description of a Spring excursion to Halls Gap. We conclude his story as they do the last leg of their 2 day walk. Please note that the botanical names are sometimes hard to decipher. The library who have made this available on the web has used character recognition software to get into a text document and it has not always coped with Latin vocabulary. And of course some plant names have changed as well.

 

Having reached a large, swiftly-flowing creek containing good water, we decided to boil the billy and have lunch, and enjoy a short respite from travelling. Feeling refreshed, we

 

pushed on and negotiated a high ridge, from the top of which a splendid view of the Victoria Valley was obtained. The head waters of the Glenelg River could be traced, running in a northwesterly direction at the start, and finally turning southward after making a circuit of the northern end of the Victoria Range. The principal point of interest from here is the “Asses’ Ears” a bold prominence on the Victoria Range. Continuing from this spot in a northerly direction, some deep and rugged gullies were encountered, the walls of sandstone in some places being almost perpendicular ; however, after much difficult climbing, we eventually reached Scrubby Creek. The vegetation along the creek was very luxuriant. Splendid specimens of Prostanthera lasianthos and Pomaderris apetala attained a height of fully thirty feet, and Pimelea spathulata, an elegant shrub in full bloom, made a very effective display with its pretty heads of drooping greenish flowers. The Acacias, A. melanoxylon, A. verniciflua, and A. retinodes, looked particularly well, the foliage being very regular and ornamental, and of a much lighter shade of green than is usually seen. A great variety of ferns flourished along the banks of the stream ; splendid masses of Gleichenia dicarpa were

 

observed, and G. flabellata was particularly fine. Todea barbara grew in profusion, and in some places formed close thickets, while Lomaria discolor, L. capensis, Aspidium aculeatum, Pteris incisa, also the tree-fern, Dicksonia antarctica, with its stately heads of fronds, added beauty to the scene. Leaving Scrubby Creek, we soon struck the track we were in search of, and started on our homeward journey. Proceeding now under more comfortable circumstances, along the track was seen a nice display of Brachycome diversifolia growing in a grassy flat, and gleaming gold and white in the sunlight. It was noted that in this particular part of the mountains Grevillea alpina and Styphelia adscendens assumed trailing Jorms. Journeying along the slopes of Mount Difficult, Burchardia umbellata, Helichrysum apicilatum, and H. Baxteri were met with in great profusion. The beautifully cerulean blue flowers of Brunonia australis made a splendid show.

 

Under cultivation this plant should make an uncommon and very pretty border. As the day was bright and sunny, Thelymitra antennifera (one of the sun orchids) was showing to the best advantage. Passing the saddle on Mount Difificult and descending towards Hall’s Gap, nice clumps of Euphrasia collina (a graceful flower, varying in shades from white to deep lavender), Stylidium graminifolium (with long spikes of magenta flowers). Patersonia longiscapa (with rich purple blooms), Hibbertia densiflora (with yellow blossoms), and Dianella revoluta (with bluish flowers) presented a charming effect with the blending of the various colours.

 

After this long and interesting trip through partly unknown country, and having covered about thirty-five miles of rough, trackless parts in the two days, we arrived home safely, heavily laden with specimens collected and highly pleased with the results of our undertaking.

 

 

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