On a bright but chilly morning 25 questing souls gathered in Wartook to look at wildflowers. We were joined by several first time attendees who saw facebook and website promotion, or heard the radio add. (They enjoyed themselves so much I ran out of membership forms!). After last season’s dry September we were worried about finding much to look at but nature was very obliging this year. I guess a wetter season is a big help to the plant life. Our biggest concern leading up to the day was the grazing macropods that see flowers as candy. But they left us some to admire. Those who attended had a great time, and saw some great flowers. With many eyes many things can be spotted and people danced from one treasure to another with great delight.
I was very pleased to convince Dave and Lyn Munro to come along for this activity. They have great passion for orchids and fungi, along with many other plants too. Having the knowledge to match that enthusiasm is very helpful in a large group. Lots of calls of “Dave can you help us with this one?” were heard echoing through the trees. And I know they enjoyed their time in the bush with other likeminded people as much as we enjoyed having them.
Dave was also to be interviewed for the Stawell Field Nats documentary project, so we had a small film crew following us everywhere. Dave commented that he didnt think he had much to share with the camera, but the minute it was rolling Dave’s educator mode kicked in. Scientific name, common name, background or definition to the nomenclature, and then a bit of general knowledge on the use of a plant, or a little anecdote about when someone first saw it. The girls were delighted with this. We figured that as they were running around with a notepad we would dob them in to keep a plantlist too. That opened their eyes. They were even delighted to film a group with their heads together and books open haggling over an identification. It showed just how much time and research goes into accruing the knowledge some of or members share. That is important to document too. Knowledge is hard won.
We identified more than 30 different species, five of them orchids. (There were three different varieties of Greenhood orchids). Some specimens were very impressive. We also found at least 5 different fungi too.
The Spiral Sun Orchids (Thelymitra matthewsii) didn’t grace us with an open bloom but that’s the nature of viewing a plant whose flower may only open for an hour or two. But Kaye’s eagle eyes did spot something special nearby. A Kennedia prostrata, or running postman in a white form. It is probably a mutation rather than a new species, but it was something no one had seen before. We christened it Running Milkman!
After a convivial lunch together some headed for home and a smaller group wandered along another stretch of road to see what else we could find. The Grampians Trigger Plants were located but none were in flower this early in the season and we were all a bit overawed so the day ended there.
I include a plant list that only covers those in flower or fruit (fungi).
Running Postman & running Milman Kennedia prostrata,Common beard-heath Leucopogon virgatus, Erect Guinea-flower/Bundled Guinea-flower/Silky Guinea-flower Hibbertia riparia/prostrata/sericea, Pink bells Tetratheca ciliata, Leafless Bitter-pea Daviesia brevifolia, Bent Goodenia Goodenia geniculata, Horny Cone-bush Isopogon ceratophyllus, Cat’s Claws Grevillea alpina, Purple Coral-pea Hardenbergia violacea, Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha, Myrtle Wattle Acacia myrtifolia, Sallow Wattle Acacia longafolia, Thyme Spurge Phyllanthus hirtellus, Yellow Star Hyooxis vaginata, Early Nancy Wurmbea dioica, Blue Stars Chamaescilla corymbosa, Round-leafed Mint-bush Prostanthera rotundifolia.
Orchids Spiral Sun Orchids Thelymitra matthewsii, Plain-lipped Spider-orchid Caladenia clavigera, Waxlips Glossodia major, Trim/Nodding/Emerald lipped Greenhoods Pterostylis concinna/nutans/smaragdyna
Fungi. Yellow Belly Buttons Omphalina chromacea, Horse dung Fungus Pisolithus tinctorius, Splitgill Schizophyllum commune, Stereum sp., Laccaria sp.