NSBranch Nov 2020
GOLLY, we do have a big crowd today! With 25 participants our walk at Warwick Bushland attracted the largest crowd for the year. We commenced the walk with a brief introduction to the bush from Steph Murphy, coordinator of the Friends of Warwick Bushland, who acknowledged the great work done by her predecessors, Karen Clarke and our leader for the morning, Mark Brundrett.
Mark began by advising us we were in a lull for orchids – the Scented sun orchids (Thelymitra macrophylla) having just finished and the Chestnut sun orchids (Thelmitra fuscolutea) still about two weeks from flowering. However, as he said, there were still plenty of other late spring/early summer plants in flower.
Our first stop was at a location where the Friends group is deliberately spreading sun orchid seed close to the path as a way of stopping people from having to tramp through the bush to see them. Mark explained that his research indicated only about one in twenty of the flowers on a scented sun orchid was pollinated, and by coincidence the dead orchid he randomly picked showed exactly that. His research also showed orchids in dense clusters were less visited by pollinating insects than widely scattered plants.
Two of the most prominent plants in an area burnt last year were the bloodroots, Haemodorum paniculatum (left) and H. spicata (right). It is obvious, when the two are seen side by side, why they were named this way.
Image: Don Poynton
Many of the Balgas (Xanthorrhoea preissii) in the burnt area were also flowering and attracting a variety of insects, including a pair of mating thynnine wasps and a large yellow flower wasp.
Image: Glynn Cowgill
Elsewhere, the leaves formed the resting place for a colourful dragonfly, possibly a male Australian Emperor (Hemianax papuensis).
Image: Glynn Cowgill
Pinks and purples seem to be the colour of the day with Purple Flag (Patersonia occidentalis) and Pixie Mops (Petrophile linearis) being prominent, with lesser occurrences of one of the fringed lilies, Thysanotus arenarius and, a new plant for some of us …
Woodbridge Poison (Isotoma hypocrateriformis) in its various shades of pink. Mark explained the plant was unusual in that it had evolved to have its own internal supply of water, so it would still develop seeds without further rainfall (or if placed in a vase without water). It is also unusual in that the single flower is supported on a thin, vertical stem with no remaining foliage when it flowers.
Image: Tanya Marwood
Mark also drew our attention to a number of inappropriate species or forms that had been planted during the early revegetation attempts including a dwarf northern form of Banksia menziesii and B. prionotes. Neither of these are highly invasive, unlike Acacia trigonophylla, which in its juvenile form may have been mistaken for two wattles which do occur naturally, the Narrow-winged Wattle (A. stenoptera) and the white flowering, Grass Wattle (A. willdenowiana). Thousands of seedlings, as well as mature bushes of the invasive wattle, which in its natural state occurs from the Geraldton Sandplains to the Avon Wheatbelt and the Mallee Bio-regions, have been and still are, being removed by hand. Ian Abbott and Wayne Merritt note 23 bird species between them. One bobtail was spotted.
As if we hadn’t already had a GOLLY Moment, another was called for when the Friends group treated us to a morning tea. For those who missed the walk, a visit to the Friend’s website is highly recommended.