A few months ago I took the boys for a ride on the center track in Ku-ring-gai National Park. We all had a great time on the way out and a good play on a large sandstone pavement that crosses the path. They were pretty tired by then, the trip back wasn’t as happy! Even though it’s quite close to the local bush there were many plants that I’ve not seen in Garigal.
I found something that was completely unfamiliar, have a look at the photo:
It was just by the side of the path on an exposed ridge top. You can see by the car key it was quite small, it had a networked branching structure that looked like it was made from an open sponge like material with holes all through it. It was tough to identify, I thought it was either a lichen or a fungus, it turned out to be a lichen, which is actually a symbiosis of a fungus and an algae! This one is a Cladia retipora, known as Coral Lichen. It’s been difficult to find detailed information but it appears it’s a common lichen that is found in Australia from Cairns in North Queensland following the coast south and around to Adelaide, with extensive records all through Tasmania. It’s also been recorded on the West Australian coast near Perth.
“The hardiest and also the earliest flowering of the local species” – NPOS p.116
Tom was the only one that had been home all Sunday, by late afternoon he had a bad case of cabin fever and demanded to go on a bushwalk, and one he’d never been on before. We took a path that joins the usual route, but past where we normally finish, then ended up doing the river loop in reverse. A few different wild flowers were in bloom, it really felt like the start of spring. I took pictures of these small purple flowers, I had a hunch they were a species of Boronia and I was right. Boronia is another one of those plants that everyone seems to be familiar with except me.
This particular one is a Boronia ledifolia, commonly known as Sydney Boronia. It’s a common plant, abundant in heath and woodland and also the earliest flowering of the local Boronias. The plant itself is small only growing to 1m in height. it’s flowers are four petalled and a sticking pink in colour, approximately 4cm across. Leaves are thin with a waxy shine, deep green in colour with pots and recurved margins.
It happens every year around this time, this year it was yesterday ( August 13th, Jessie’s birthday! ) They were in the Banksia out the back but had gone by the time I got the camera. They’re usually just here for a just one day per year, I’ve not been able to find any information on their migration habits, or even if they migrate at all. But where do they go for the rest of the year!
“Easily recognized by it’s large pink flowers and thick grey green foliage” NPOS p.118
After having come home from the boys soccer to an empty house without keys there was only one thing to do, get the boys on their bikes and head down the bush! The weather was warm with the first hints of spring, a number of flowers had started to come out too.
I didn’t have my camera with me so I took these photos with my phone, I’m still so impressed at how clearly they come out with such a small lense and sensor.
This plant took me a while to identify, in NPOS it looks similar to Crowea saligna or Crowea exalata, but the flowers are not quite as depicted in the book. In the end I’m pretty sure it’s a Eriostemon australasius also known as the Pink Wax Flower.
Pink Wax Flowers are common in heath and woodlands on sandstone plateaus. They are a small shrub growing to about 1.5m They have leathery leaves that are narrow, 1cm, and long, 8cm or so. The flowers are numerous and striking, large and pink with 5 petals.