Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fairies' Aprons

I'm glad no one was watching me when I spotted a plant flowering in the bush. I confess to doing a little jig and a yahoo.

I've been gradually surveying a particular area of Victoria for about ten years now, looking for plants in an area about 10 km by 14 km (a degree) east of Heywood in the state's west. It's a diverse area with creeks, sandy heath, woodland and forest, and volcanic stone areas. Over that time I've found a few interesting species of plants and built up my knowledge of the plants that are common.

And I have a list of plants that should be in the area but I haven't found them yet.Top of the list was a beautiful little carnivorous plant called Fairies' Aprons Utricularia dichotoma. The plants have modified stems that trap small organisms. It grows in damp and wet heathy areas and they tend to be the places I avoid in summer because I worry about snakes when I'm by myself. And we're not always here at the right time of the year.

Fairies' Aprons Utrcularia dichotoma
Yesterday I wasn't looking for it because it's January (normally very dry but this year everything here is still green and moist) and the plant flowers in spring and early summer. But there it was, a single plant, looking beautiful in the middle of a muddy section of a bush track in the Annya forest at Milltown.

Fairies' Aprons are probably widespread in this area as they are in other areas of Australia - it's just that I had never found them where I expected them to be. Hence the jig.

1 comment:

Titania said...

I think that jig was appropriate to celebrate such a little beauty. I could not think of a better common name for this dainty flower. I wonder who came up with "Fairie's Aprons", what a beautiful children's story that would make.