Saturday, 26 September 2009

Berry-flower

I enjoy wandering along tracks that I know well. There's always something to look out for as the seasons change - the special plants that flower when you expect them to, the birds that sing when they should, beautiful fungi appearing amongst the mulch and on wood, the joy of finding the minute caterpillars and insects and the hidden treasures that only I know about.

So I was very surprised to see a small shrub with bright pink flowers on one of 'my' tracks in the Annya forest at Milltown. Not only surprised but puzzled. I had no idea what it was. So I took photos and a specimen for my pressed plant collection and had to wait till I got home in Geelong this week to have a look at my Wild Plants of Victoria DVD. This database has fantastic filter options but I was still having trouble pinning it down, and it wasn't until I ticked the weed box that I finally got it. Erica baccans Berry-flower Heath. It's a weed, introduced from South Africa. According to one web page I looked at it's still sold as a garden plant but can become a dominant plant of the understory in bush areas. On the distribution map on the DVD it is mainly found in parts of Gippsland and not in the far west of the state at all so I think I'll have to report the sighting to DSE and Viridans.

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Boobook
There is a tall White Erica which is weedy in the south-west Vic (around Hamilton). The same plant is also a huge problem in Tasmania.
But I have never seen your species before.
Cheerrs
Denis

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