Walking on the Wild Side – Friends of Mount Majura Wildflower Walk – Friends of Mount Majura
Nov 072005
 

Plant list (excel file)

Visitors of Mount Majura Nature Reserve have no doubt that this spring is one of the best in many years. Following the rain after several years of drought wildflowers are putting up a colourful show. Friends of Mount Majura joined local Botanist Michael Doherty on Sunday, 30 October for a stroll on the lower slopes of Mount Majura behind Hackett and discovered a Floriade of Natives.

We learned to distinguish between Bush-peas (Pultenaea) and Parrot-peas or Eggs and Bacon (Dillwynia). Both low growing shrubs belong to the pea family (Fabaceae) with rich orange to yellow flowers. Pea flowers have a large central erect petal, called standard, which is one-lobed in Bush-peas and two-lobed and broader than high in Parrot-peas. Leafy Bitter-peas (Daviesia mimosoides) are taller shrubs to about 1.5 m high. By now most of the Bitter-peas have finished flowering and have developed attractive triangular pods. The slender Twining Glycine (Glycine clandestina), also a member of the pea family, has purple flowers and is usually found climbing on other shrubs or lower parts of trees.

Yellow flowering forbs are most abundant in the grassy understorey. We saw Scaly Button (Leptorhynchos squamatus), Bulbine Lily (Bulbine bulbosa), Austral Sunray (Triptilodiscus pygmaeus), Sticky Everlastings (Xerochrysum viscosum), Curved Rice-flower (Pimelea curviflora), Scrambled Eggs (Goodenia pinnatifida) and Yellow Button (Chrysocephalum apiculatum). Yellow Rush Lily (Tricoryne elatior) is just starting to open the buds. The bright yellow flowers of Murnong or Yam Daisy (Microseris lanceolata) look similar to those of Dandelion, however the basal leaves of Murnong have entire margins whereas Dandelion leaves are toothed. The underground stem (tuber) of Murnong was formerly an important food source of Aborigines. The Grey Guinea Flower (Hibbertia obtusifolia) is a neat little shrub that bears large bright yellow flowers. The less conspicuous male and female flowers of the Many-flowered Mat-rush (Lomandra multiflora) are borne on separate plants.

The splendid Tiger Orchid (Diuris sulphurea) belongs to the donkey-ears, which owe their common name to the shape of the large lateral petals. The Tiger Orchid is taller than its relative, the Leopard Orchid (see Orchid Walk on this website). Both orchids are currently in flower and are found between the large tussocks of Redanther Wallaby Grass (Joycea pallida) along the eastern part of the Casuarina trail. Tigers are bright yellow with brown streaks on the lower cental petal (labellum) and two dark marks on the upper hood-like central sepal. Leopards are heavily brown blotched, which includes the lower surface of their “ears”. This gives them a more orange appearance.

Bluebells (Wahlenbergia sp.), Nodding Blue Lily (Stypandra glauca) and Black-anthered Flax Lily (Dianella revoluta) add some blue to the colour show. Slender Rice-flower (Pimelea linifolia), Daphne Heath (Brachyloma daphnoides), Urn Heath (Melichrus urceolatus) and Bitter Cryptandra (Cryptandra amara) are small white or creamy flowered shrubs found at rocky soils of the grassy woodlands. The early spring flowerers Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna) and Early Nancy (Wurmbea dioica) are more common in the grassy woodland understorey of the lower slope. As in the Many-flowered Mat-rush, male and female flowers of Early Nancy are usually on separate plants.

We found some Hoary Sunrays (Leucochrysum albicans). If you have time visit the northwest slopes of Mount Majura between Antill Street and Federal Highway to see the real show. The hill slopes are covered with carpets of this pretty everlasting daisy.

Waltraud Pix
7 November 2005

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