|The beauty of this shrub in full flower with its crimson
heads is not easily forgotten. Predominantly a subalpine plant it grows
in snow gum woodland, sometimes extending to alpine shrubberies and
can be up to 8m tall, but often much shorter, with rather few branches.
The leaves, clustered towards the ends, are dark green above and paler
below. Terminal flower heads 5-8 cm across consisting of 15-20 small, scarlet,
deep red or very rarely yellow flowers are unmistakable and produce copious
nectar which drips from the flower. There are persistent fruit cases 5-8
cm long. Seeds may be collected in the autumn and are easy to cultivate.
Cuttings are also possible. Plants propagated from seed have a tap root;
while those from cuttings do not.
Photo: Christine Howells
MORAEA - White Flag Iris, Butterfly Iris.
A widespread iris on sandy or rocky places, with fibrous roots and short rhizomes making large tussocks and masses. Leaves are 30-60cm long, narrow, parallel veined and arise from the base of the plant. The flower stalk is tall and smooth with 2-4 erect bracts and two large bracts enclosing the flowers which emerge in succession from the sheath. A spectacular sight in spring and summer.
BULBOSA - Bulbine Lily. (Asphodelaceae)
Widespread in open rocky, sandy or grassy areas from sea-level to mountains. A bulbous plant with succulent linear leaves to 30 cm. The unbranched erect flower stalk 8-60 cm long bears numerous bright yellow flowers about 2 cm diameter in an elongated raceme with many unopened buds at the apex and setting fruit at the bottom. The fruit is a spherical capsule about 6 mm wide, with black angular seeds.
VOLUBILE - Blue Love Creeper. Polygalaceae.
A slender climbing plant, with
sprays of small blue flowers, very attractive and easily seen in spring. The
green stems have few if any leaves making it inconspicuous at other times.
Fine specimens may climb 2 metres or more up suitable supporting
vegetation. Seeds are contained in small purse-like capsules.Occasionally
pink or white flowered plants may be found.
GRAMINIFOLIUM Trigger Plant
(Stylidiaceae) Photo - Kris Schaffer
A perennial herb with semi-erect narrow-linear leaves forming a basal tuft from which arise erect flower stems often more than twice the length of the leaves and bearing many pink, occasionally white, 4-petalled flowers, the fifth petal very small. Flower stalk and sepals are covered with glandular hairs. The whole genus Stylidium is notable for its jointed hammer-like column, formed from jointed stamens, style and stigma. Insects landing on the flower probe deeply into it with their tongues, triggering the movement of the column which transfers pollen to their backs or receives pollen, so ensuring cross pollination. The trigger and column reset slowly. Flowering September-December. Widespread from sea level to montane and found in all eastern States. Propagation is from seed and can be fairly long-lived under garden conditions. The genus has its stronghold in Western Australia where there are more than a hundred species, some of which form into strange-looking plants with a confused tangle of wiry stems and equally unusual flowers. There are three other species which are tiny annuals. These survive for only a few months in places which are wet in spring and dry out in summer. (See S. armeria - coastal)
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