“Bastille Weekend”

“Bastille Weekend”

The following are notes from our bush-walking in the Yuraygir National Park on Bastille Day Weekend, 2012. In the literate sense they are rather informal and somewhat disjointed, but hopefully capture the spirit of fun, and adventure we find  in these activities. I have revised these notes now in May, 2013, but the flavour pertains to what we were doing last year. We are happily working with Smug Mug for our photo gallery; and at the end of each trip I will post images, both unknowns (especially those wretched peas) and interesting flowers from the day. Another reason for writing these notes is to record impressions, and locations (generally) of what we have seen. They are just informal notes, and not in a more refined “publication format” of some of  my posts. I suggest the reader follow the notes in conjunction with the images shown in the gallery. I guess I am cautious about revealing too much about locations, especially as I have been entrusted with some of this information, lest some of the treasures (orchids and the like) be plundered by “garden-o-philes”, but am always happy for interested folks to join us in the field. There is a fee, however, which is a packet of our preferred biscuits to accompany our sliced tomatoes, and honey tea which we require for morning tea.

Readers may be interested in a log  from our Isolated Peak climb.  Sorry, no images as it was a travel light day, a 14 hour endurance marathon.  We saw a Trigger Plant, on the abseil down, and have since discovered these in the Yuraygir National Park.  I  have also received some information from Barry our Botanical Mentor about “Banksia sp.” and have incorporated this into the Isolated Peak Log.

The ramparts of Wooli were stormed by the weekend warriors, who undeterred by their perilous ascent and descent of Isolated Peak last weekend, were eager to be back in the field. Clearly, we needed some help from the French to liberate the Nat Parks from the vile bourgeois aristocrats of bureaucracy who would seek to keep the people from their rightful enjoyment of our wonderful Parks by erecting massive barricades to prevent entry, at least that was how we saw things on Bastille Day.

In some of our favourite areas there has been dumping of garden rubbish, banana plants, and grass clippings which is clearly a “no no” if the delicate ecological balance of the native heath is to be preserved. Best organize a tip somewhere in a rocky area and educate folks not to dump in the Parks. Unfortunately the powers-that-be have closed the long-standing local tip in the Minnie Waters area. With the tip now relocated to Grafton,  the locals have been left  to their own devices. Already in our fossicking, we have encountered a number of garden escapes. In some ways, the harshness of the heath country may help to preserve the native heath plants as fortunately escapes may have difficulty getting established there.

The weather being iffy with overcast skies and no sun, Roger went out for a dive at the North Solitary Islands in the morning, enjoying relatively calm seas, and the opportunity to work with the new close focus wide-angle lens on the Nikon D 7000 with some nice shots of coral, fans, and fish with background terrain at the Bubble Cave, and Elbow Cave dive sites, with the compulsory look along Roger’s Run. Roger’s Run is a not-internationally-known dive site, which starts at the slot between the islands, and continues south along the west side of the Turtle, to about the Elbow Cave mooring and is a very pretty area with a nice collection of macro subjects. On this day there was a  profusion of small fish, but no nudibranchs. On the way back to Wooli, we enjoyed a spot of Humpback Whale watching as these leviathans are swimming north. Quite cold above water, and hot showers on return; only to recycle the battery and head back out with Bruce as the weather turned to custard.

White Donkey Orchid, "Diuris alba"
White Donkey Orchid, “Diuris alba”

Bruce had already done a recce, and had hit upon some White Donkey Orchids, so that was priority, and as well the yellow wattle, one of two types now flowering. So off we went in drizzly rain to the Bee site.  True enough,  some lovely orchids had bloomed and I was impressed with just how white they are. I will upload these to the gallery for all to have a look at. No bees were around so we had the run of the place. There are earlier images of the purple variety of the “Donk” seen in the mowed area at Wilson’s Headland parking lot, but these will probably bloom closer to Christmas.

In this unspoiled heath area  grow some lovely flowers. Bruce’s favourite, the Egg and Bacon was out but scattered.  Adjacent was a pure golden yellow pea with slightly hairy and recurve leaves. As we poked around we came across another old friend from last year, the “Kunzea” , either the Pink Kunzea, “Kunzea capitata” or the “Kunzea opposita“.

A grass with a yellow type of flower, if it could be called that, was also seen. A very interesting feature is that the stamens are actually square, best seen in high mag which SmugMug will do for you. The only other plant I have seen in the area with square stamens is the “Styphelia viridis“. This grass I think would fit as a Sedge, perhaps Horned Sedge, “Ptilothrix deusta“.

Hakea florulenta
Hakea florulenta

It is clear the seasons are turning, and as they do, new types of flowers emerge, and this is quite fascinating. We have not seen the Hakea blooms since last year, but today the Mullaway Needlewood, or “Hakea actites” is in bloom. The brown stems looks quite tough, and the white curlicue flowers are located towards the tip. I show an image with the nut, which according to Barry has a blunt, turned-over tip which I am not sure is shown in this image. There are pictures earlier in the gallery of “Hakea florulenta” which has much denser creamy flowers. Bruce did comment on how a plant with such tiny flowers can have such big nuts.

For the gallery, more photos of the red female flowers of the Black Sheoak, “Allocasuarina litoralis

Common Riceflower, "Pimelea linifolia"
Common Riceflower, “Pimelea linifolia”

The Common Riceflower, “Pimeelea linifolia” is prevalent in the general area, with rounded cluster of flowers in a bouquet arrangement, borne on individual stems. I include an image where they are seen in line, which assists in focussing the camera.  Interestingly, this plant is found on the lower slopes of Mt. Ernest, near Mt. Barney.

Our pea selection continues, with a golden orange pea with a hint of red, and rather ovoid leaf, slightly hairy, and tip slightly recurved.

The vegetation changed as we drove up towards the tax payer funded Maginot Line (to continue the French theme) to discover in the treed area, a shy Matchhead, “Commesperma ericinum” with one flower just opening. Barry describes the inner parts as forming a small pouch, but I am not sure I follow. These flowers grow in abundance on Mt. Maroon and are a spring favourite. Later they will bloom in profusion in this area.

The Myrtle Wattle, “Acacia myrtifolia was looking rather bedraggled in the rain, with white rather large flowers borne towards the end of the stems, and the leaves with one central vein and slightly curved. Wattle was certainly the flavour of the day, with the Fringed Wattle, now in bloom, “Acacia fimbriata“, and I agree wholeheartedly with Barry’s description on Page 104 as “showy”. The intense yellow flowers explode at you like a cluster of fireworks. I am not sure about the fringe of hairs on the edge of the phyllodes. Tomorrow, we will be examining the Coastal Wattle, as there are lots of it around, even a tree near the Wooli Caravan Park. We did see a small bush today and note the rather cylindrical tube of flower emerging straight from the stem; as well as leaves with multiple longitudinal veins. “Acacia longifolia subsp. sophorae“. Plenty to see in the coastal heath towards Diggers’.

Some nice photos were taken of the “Hardenbergia violacea“, a really viney twiney pea; I am not sure why it is also called False Sarsparilla. For a tiny flower it does seem to have a large leaf. Quite intense and vivid purple. There is another but smaller and less violaceous pea, with a tri type of leaf; I think I have seen it before and also include a photo of its pea-pod, quite large by comparison.

Though not in flower, the “Drosera peltata” is identified by its Sputnick-like leaves, that have sticky hairs that trap insects. High protein diets are all the rage. Can’t wait for the flowers to bloom.

On the leafy forest floor, we found the lovely Maidenhair Fern ,but am not sure which type this is, as there are at least four types, “Adiantum atroviride, A. diaphanum, A. formosum, and A. hispiidulum“. Although I am mainly doing flowers, along the way there are other interesting subjects, ferns, fungi, and even bugs so I beg the indulgence of the reader when I pop one of these images in.We have been looking for a rare Daisy. We found only one of these along the road, but further inland than expected.

And, finally before the rain drove us back to the 4b, another orchid, which had Bruce really excited, the Pink Fingers, “Petalochilus carneus” which Barry describes on p. 92 of his book. Lovely flower. In a subsequent post I would like to analyse the various parts of the anatomy and physiology of orchids.

Sunday, and an anaemic sun brought a reluctant dawn over the now glassy calm ocean. I picked Bruce up at 0630, and after confirming he did bring the biscuits, we were off into the wilds of the heath country. We were there about two weeks ago, and things were starting to bud, but today, definitely the show was on for young and old. “Acacia longiflora” is definitely the go at the moment and has burst from its slumber. I note Barry’s comment about the multiple longitudinal veins on the leaf-like phyllodes (though am still coming to grips with the concept of a phyllode). Such an intense sherbet candy yellow.

Pandora’s box, was also open today. For the first time, the Wonga Vine was coming into flower. Bruce calls these Chocolate Bells, their scientific name is “Pandorea pandorana” and I have included several photos including a bugs-eye look into their throats. Kind of reminds me of an ice cream, with a vanilla tube, with a boysenberry ruffled topping. Photo included of the distinctive leaf arrangement with four pairs of two, and a terminal leaf, nine in total.

Another two Leucopogon were coming into bloom and please forgive me if I seek some advice on how to distinguish these from the  “Lissanthe sp.“?  I have posted to the gallery images of several types including:  “Leucopogon ericoides” or Pink Beard Heath. We have not seen a “L. virgatus” which has much hairier flowers. “Epacris pulchella” has been seen over several months but is coming to an end. We showed the “Epacris microphylla” just opening in our last series.

Also, a new Leptospermum, probably not “L. polygaliforum” and the flowers are smaller; could be “L. liversidgei” as leaves have pointed tips.

Returning to the Kunzea which is firing in the wet heath, more so than higher up where we saw the Kunzea for the first time yesterday, our flowers show the Pink Kunzea, “Kunzea capitata“, with clusters of blooms. Leaves are slightly hairy and somewhat recurved.

Our local Swamp Mahogany is still in bloom, and see if you can spot the six-legged something.


"Ricinocarpus pinifolius", Wedding Bush (female flower).
“Ricinocarpus pinifolius”, Wedding Bush (female flower).

Here is a  new flower,  the Wedding Bush, “Ricinocarpus pinifolius“. An interesting feature of this plant is that it is monoecious, having both male flowers and female flowers on the same plant. Have a look back at the Leucopogon which shows rather different central parts to the flower, could it also be monoecious?

We enjoyed a  wonderful week-end of bush flowers; and can’t wait to return to Wooli in a fortnight. Hoping for some sunshine.








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