Episode 3 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.)
As noted previously 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.We left our group camped beside Rosea Ck, some distance below Calectesia Falls.
Making an early start in the morning, and following the stream downward, rough country was encountered for four or five miles. The water in the creek became much iron-stained, and presented quite a brown appearance. Hereabouts Humea elegans (now Calomeria sp or Incense bush. ed) grew abundantly, but no flowering specimens of it were available, as it blooms later in the season. When in full bloom it is a very fine sight, its wide-spreading, drooping panicles and innumerable shining, rose-coloured flowers, which sometimes vary to white, rendering the plant a valuable acquisition in gardens, where it flourishes without any particular attention. Boronia polygalifolia, Scaevola aemula? , Correa aemula?, and Hakea ulicina also grew in considerable quantities along the banks of the stream. It is worthy of mention that in this particular locality several shrubs grew larger and more luxuriantly than as usually met with. For instance, Dillwynia ericifolia attained a height of fully ten feet, whereas in many districts its usual height is not more than three to four feet. It was quite surprising to see Micromyrtus microphylla grown into a large shrub about eight feet in height, this shrub, as a rule, attaining only a couple of feet. Calytrix sullivanii, which is a very ornamental shrub, was unusually large and robust, being about twelve feet in height ; this shrub is peculiar to the Grampians, and grows readily under cultivation. Leucopogon thymifolius, also peculiar to the Grampians, had attained a large size, some plants noted being fully six feet in height, while on Mount William, where it grows abundantly, the average height is about eighteen inches. As the creek emerged into flat country, nice specimens of Prostanthera denticulata were found in different colours— namely, bluish-purple and lilac. Here Restio tetraphyllus made its appearance. The scrub hereabouts was almost a tangle, caused by the twiner Marianthus bignoniaceus connecting all forms of vegetation. From a spectacular point of view it was most picturesque, with its pretty, bell-shaped, orange flowers showing up well amid the different shades of green. Veronica Derwentia, a very graceful shrub, was in full bloom, and its racemes of pure white flowers, a foot in length, were beautiful to behold. Here we left the creek and followed the Serra Range in a northerly direction, travelling through rough country which has seldom been trodden by the foot of man. On the lower stretches of the hills a fine forest of Acacia mollissima was passed through, the majority of the trees reaching a height of eighty feet, and in some instances having a diameter of two feet. Travelling was slow here on account of the dense and tall growth of Banksia marginata, Callitris rhomhifolia, Cassinia aculeata, and Acacia verticulata, while further on Acacia verniciflua and Kunzea parvifolia occupied acres in extent, the crimson flowers of the latter making a gorgeous sight. Amid this crimson mass it was remarkable to find one bearing white flowers. Advancing into more open country we passed through fine patches of the following heaths, viz.: — Styphelia adscendens, Astroloma conostephioides, A.humifusum, and A. pinifolium, in fruit. Several emus were observed feeding on the berries. A little further on we came upon shrubs which had just recently been rooted up (evidently by wild pigs), as the foliage was not at all withered. From this point we struck out for a track which led from the Victoria Valley round the end of Mount Difficult to Hall’s Gap.
To be concluded next issue.