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Flowering Autumn

Every season brings its own surprises and the more moist environment of autumn stimulates some of the smallest flowering plants. Underneath fallen logs in sheltered areas where there is often no direct sunlight the helmet orchid can be spotted now.

In complete contrast in location, the tiny Greenhood also springs up in colonies and for a day or two they seem to be everywhere along exposed ridges. They often share the flowering time and place with the Autumn Bird orchid which is more solitary and longer lasting.

For those of us not overly familiar with plants, flowering times can be an eye opener. When a particular plant flowers it is so easy to get an idea of their range and numbers. Even differentiating between the varieties of a species becomes much simpler when you know when they are flowering.

The there are two Acacias flowering now, the terminalis and the genistifolia. The Sunshine wattle is everywhere, whereas the genistifolia seems to be mostly about the more exposed ridge lines above 200 metres.

The common names to some plants often changes with the locality. Around St Helens the Diplarrena moraea is known as Snake Lily, while in the field guides it is variously called Butterfly or Flag Iris. Similarly the Bauera ruboides is known as River Dog Rose, West Coast Rose and just Bauera. The Goodenia ovata flowering now is called Parrot Food in the books which I find a bit derogatory.

Another yellow coloured flower is the Banksia, often overlooked because it appears to flower the whole year round. An interesting feature of this plant is that it can be used to estimate time between fires. As they usually die in fires and they grow one node a year, the number of nodes on the plant is a rough estimate of the years since the last fire.

So far in the last year I have covered many of the plants in the Dry Sclerophyll forest around St Helens. I apologize for the lack of detail on coastal, rainforest and alpine communities. Years ago I took part in a survey of what became the Beaumaris playground and we identified hundreds of species on just a small block. Similarly any walk through rainforest or alpine areas will demonstrate the incredible diversity of Tasmania's plant community.

However a drive along Argonaut Rd to Mt Albert Rd, with its history of tin mining and logging, will reveal the extent of environmental degradation. Not just the big trees, but all the tiny little plants, bushes and shrubs, fungi and mosses, landforms that are forever changed.

Just a few of the many natives appearing at the moment, in the order they appear on left

Common name Scientific name
Helmet orchid Corybas unguiculatus
Tiny Greenhood Pterostylis paravifloras
Sunshine Wattle Acacia terminalis
  Acacia genistifolia
Parrot Food Goodenia ovata
Honeysuckle Banksia marginata
Mountain Rocket Bellendena montana
Mt Young dolerite columns

Alphabetical index of natives here

Any comments or additions to this page to flowering@northeastbioregionalnetwork.org.au

 

 

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copyright 2007 www.northeastbioregionalnetwork.org.au, Last update 14/6/09