Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
Our plant survey at Bannockburn was rewarding because the area along the creek yielded lots of species for us to argue over. This one in particular was tricky. We didn't have enough references with us to solve the problem, but once we got home and put the photos up on the screen and pulled Flora Vic off the self we were in business. Our guess at Daviesia ulicifolia Gorse Bitter-pea was right. The problem was caused because, as Flora Vic says, it's "an extraordinarily variable species". Our plant had spiny phyllodes but they were very hairy and the books didn't mention that, it was growing low to the ground and the books said it was a shrub, and we didn't have any pods - Bitter-peas have triangular shaped pods.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Pigface is edible, but I think they should find a nicer common name to make it more palatable.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
I'm going to have to get myself a moss book. This moss was growing in the wet forest in the Otways. The sporophytes, in this and all the mosses, are very attractive and varied, and the capsules as well. According to one reference I have the spore capsules shrink as they age and this causes the air inside to compress. Eventually the cap pops off and spores are fired up to two metres. That's impressive, but apparently this process produces an audible 'pop'. Now that's something I'd like to see and hear. Maybe I'll start a bog garden in the old aquarium packed away beneath the house.
This I think is a liverwort or a hornwort, but I know even less about these so that's all I'm saying.
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
When I called in to have a look the other day I was sad to see another legacy of their occupation. Ron has been dumping his garden rubbish on the roadside opposite their home. It looks very pretty at the moment - but the garden plants shouldn't be there. They are now weeds.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Something has had a good meal of the leaf below. Obviously the veins weren't very tasty.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Every spring I look forward to seeing these shrubs flowering. They're so ungainly, bold, angular, flexible and colourful. The Hop Bitter-pea Daviesia latifolia is a member of the Fabaceae family, the brown and yellow 'egg and bacon' pea plants. Apparently it got its common name because the 'leaves' or phyllodes taste very bitter. Now why would you even try the taste? The 'latifolia' bit describes the broad leaves. That's more like it.
Saturday, 13 September 2008
It's actually not a bad choice. The old shed is fox-proof, there are plenty of holes to fly through, it's dry and out of the wind, the shrubbery outside provides plenty of food - what more could you want?
When we visited last week the chicks had left the nest so I'm not absolutely sure that it was a White-browed Scrubwren family who took up temporary residence, but is anyone going to disagree with me? They are certainly resident in the garden, and there were two young birds being fed while we were there.
And as an aside, the side mirror on our car got a beating from a scrubwren while we were there. He obviously thought there was a possible rival in his territory. I've never seen them do that before. Fairy-wrens, yes. Scrubwrens, never.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
My friend Dave will know what this is, I thought. He's the local expert on insects. So I emailed the photo to him, and asked him what insect he thought could have laid these tiny eggs. I'd found them attached to a plant stalk, close to the ground, in the Brisbane Ranges several days ago.
Not eggs, he said. Eggs would be even in size and laid in a pattern. Maybe it's a fungus, he said. So I hit the reference books. Slime moulds develop sporangia after the slime stage, and this is the shape of one of the forms. [Check out Fuhrer's A field guide to Australian fungi, p351 - it's very similar to my photo. It's label is Leocarpus fragilis.]
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
It was bleak and windy but we went out to the Brisbane Ranges anyway. We hardly saw or heard a bird, the majority of plants weren't flowering yet and the coffee shop at Steiglitz had closed by the time we got there but we had fun in spite of all of that. This area has suffered from several hot bushfires in the last few years and the bush is still recovering. Sutherlands Creek, at the old gold-mining village of Steiglitz, had water in it and I haven't seen that for a while.
We had a good time wandering the bush tracks, and I got a few nice photos. There were Blue Fingers orchids flowering in a few spots, Cyanicula caerulea, and the Prickly Crytandra Cryptandra tomentosa was flowering as well. The wattles were looking spectacular.