We recorded six species of wildflowers this month. Nowhere near the total that were flowering on our block, but we have been just too busy to get around all corners of the bush, and when we were out and about there just wasn’t time to make a note of what was flowering. Certainly, though it’s now officially Spring, the number of flowering species was way fewer than in August.
The noteworthy species were the Dogwood (Jacksonia scoparia) and a kind of everlasting daisy (Coronidium oxylepis subspecies lanatum).
The Dogwood has flowered prolifically this year, and it’s only at this time of year that the sheer numbers of this understorey species become apparent. In angled sunlight their flowers light up the shadows in the bush like yellow fairy-lights. When they come up in the “lawns” around the buildings we generally leave them because of the wonderful spectacle they make when they flower.
We hadn’t realised until this year that the Red-necked Wallabies eat the flowers of this species, reaching up with their front paws to pull a flowering branch down within reach of their mouths. Steve and Alison Pearson, in their book Plants of Central Queensland, say that the aborigines collected pollen from the flowers.
The name Dogwood comes from the smell of the smoke when this plant is burned green. You’d think someone nearby had stepped in something nasty. Though they don’t burn readily when growing scattered in the bush, a heap of recently cleared Dogwood burns fast and very hot. I’ve got the burn scars to prove it.
The everlasting daisy we have here doesn’t seem to have a common name, though I have seen it referred to once as the Woolly Pointed Everlasting, which seems to be a compilation of its main features rather than a real common name. Until recently its Latin name was Helichrysum collinum.
The last few years have seen an amazing population explosion of this species in the groundcover of the drier ridges on our place. At this time of year they are very popular with a wide range of insects, butterflies and skippers.
In our part of the Helidon Hills the flowers of this species have a crown of brown/golden pointed bracts surrounding the flower, but in more northerly areas in the Hills I’ve seen them with silver bracts. Maybe a different sub-species?