Friday, 14 December 2007

A rescued plant

When my daughter moved interstate a year ago some (OK, a lot) of her stuff ended up in storage in our house and garage. And I also inherited her pot plants, including delightful Chocolate Lillies and a Flax-lily. She had rescued the Flax-lily from a housing development site, legitimately, because it's a Threatened Species. Dianella amoena Matted Flax-lily grows in grassland and grassy woodlands in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland Plains and around Melbourne and is under constant threat from land clearing, urban development and grazing.

Dianella amoena

'My' Flax-lily is currently flowering beautifully, and seems to thrive on greywater. I'm wondering whether to plant it in the garden but in its natural state it can spread quite a bit so I'm hesitant.

Last summer I caught these two butterflies from the Skipper family, Yellow-banded Darts Ocybadistes walkeri , 'in the act' on a leaf of the Flax-lily. In fact, the Flax-lily is one of the food plants of the caterpillar of this species. As you can see, the butterflies are tiny. This particular species can be identifed by the little hook on the tip of the antenna and, in common with other Skippers, often bask in sunlight with the forewings open over the body and the forewings held flat (see second photo below).

Mating Yellow-banded Darts

Yellow-banded Darts

Reference: Geelong Naturalist, May 2007, p 3

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Great shots Boobook, I'd say if the Dianella attracts butterflies like that, plant it out and let it spread!