About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Spring Wildflowers (2)

This is the second in an occasional series of posts in which I celebrate, and share with you, the spring flowering in what we like to think of as the Bush Capital. If people associate Canberra and flowers at all, it's likely to be in the context of Floriade, an annual display of mostly European plants, or perhaps the magnificent National Botanic Gardens. However the forested hills and flatter woodland reserves that lie throughout the city have superb floral displays in spring.

As spring progresses and I post more in this series, I'll limit myself to flowers which have emerged since I was last out, so I won't be repeating species. The last couple of weeks have been dry, and it's only starting to warm up now, so progress is still a bit slow.
Mountain Grevillea, Grevillea alpina. A small-flowered Grevillea, this was until recently
considered to be a separate but related species to G. alpina, but is now generally
regarded as the same. However in the Australian Capital Territory it mostly only grows on Black Mountain,
and the main population is well to the south in Victoria.
Like the first posting in the series, these photos were taken on Black Mountain in central Canberra, on a short walk yesterday as we zipped between other engagements. For the rest, the flowers are quite capable of talking for themselves.
Waxlip Orchid, Glossodia major. A handsome fairly large orchid,
widespread in south-eastern Australia. I'm always delighted by the first one of the year!
Rhytidosporum procumbens, an elegant little shrub in the Pittosporum family, which is so modest it
hasn't even attracted a generally-used common name! Ants are notorious
nectar thieves, and you can well see that these tiny miscreants aren't going to
touch the pollen on the pink-tipped stamens. The whole flower is probably only 10mm across.
Dillwynia retorta, one of the parrot-peas, so named for no evident reason.
Finally, another firm favourite of mine, the beautiful Twining Fringe-Lily,
Thysanotus patersonii. Just love those fringed petals!
Another instalment in a week or so, as things start to pick up - October is the peak flowering month around here.


Flabmeister said...

WRT to "parrot pea" may I suggest comparing the shape of the keel with a cockies beak?

Just a suggestion: I have given up looking for rationality in vernacular names!


Ian Fraser said...

Fair enough, but... why this one rather than any other pea? We are in accord re your last comment! On the other hand it once presumably meant something to someone, and that's part of the charm and fascination of vernacular - ie folk - names; they say at least as much about us as about the organism.

Anonymous said...

The Canberra flora is similar in many respects to that on the south west slopes of NSW (on the border between Victoria and NSW). We too have these lovely flowers out now!

Ian Fraser said...

Absolutely! Canberra is inside the eastern edge of the western slopes; we share species with you, with nearer coastal areas via our mountain forests, and with the high country further south via the high Brindabellas. We are very lucky.