Thursday, 23 January 2014

ANPS does plants on Settlers Track

It being half-way through January, and reasonably cool, the first ANPS Wednesday Walk for the year went to the far, far Southern end of Namadgi National Park.  Just how far South is illustrated in this Google Earth snip, with the faint blue line being the Territory border.The tasteful green blobs are approximately the official walk, with the Hut (Westerman's) being visited at the end.
 Another Hut (Brayshaw's) was very close to the start.
We have walked here before seeing a rather different range of plants.  The initial thrust of this blog is members of the family Asteraceae, named after the pommie garden species 'Aster'.  For some reason there is a vernacular trend to call them Daisies: this is obviously an error as if they were really "Daisies" the family name would be Daisiaceae so some further pedantry is in order.  A first specimen was Helichrysum rutidolepis.
The only Olearia I recorded today was this O. phlogopappa, which must win some sort of award for humourous sounding name recalling an excellent song.
 A very typical aster:  Brachyscome gramineum growing in the swampy area near the lunch spot.
 This is Calotis scabiosifolia var. integrifolia.
 A giant among daisies asters: Podolepis hieracioides: this specimen was close to 1m high.
 An old favourite (possibly a perennial favourite) Microseris lanceolata the Yam daisy.
 Between Westerman's hut and the creek were many Rhodanthe anthemoides.
 If clicked on to get a bigger image this may show the carpet of Rhodanthe and some more Podolepis.
Groundsels are also asters!  This is the seed head of Senecio sp.  which even look attractive after the pappi have blown away.
Now, not all asters look like Bellis perennis.  Cassinia longifolia is also a member of Asteraceae.  This close up shows that the species was still in bud.
 They were not rare in the area, although this is a very flamboyant specimen.
I have read that a distinguishing feature of the Asteraceae  is the inflorescence of many small flowers.  However it isn't definitive since many other families show an "inflorescence of many small flowers".  Here are some samples beginning with Hakea microcarpa (a member of Protaceae).  In flower ....
.. and fruit (I really like the little curly stigma residues).
 Another inflorescence, of Trachymene humilis, a member of family Apiaceae - if the insect had been a bee, family Apidae,  a neat analogy could have been made.  However Roger has pointed out it is a bee-fly family Bombylidae, and I still reckon it a bonus, even if the Latin doesn't work so well.
 Another inflorescence, this time of Lomatia myricoides (Protaceae).
 I'm not sure if this cluster of flowers and capsules of Eucalyptus pauciflora is an inflorescence or not.  Certainly the little white curly bits are just stamens.
 Gums and tea trees are all members of Myrtaceae.  Here is some Baeckea utilis
 .. and some Leptospermum myrtifolium.
 many Wahlenbergia were seen - this one appears to have been spreading its pollen around.
 Now we move on to Fabaceae.  With regard to my 2013 campaign (see reference to pedantry above) to have them referred to as 'beans' (Latin = Faba) rather than 'peas' I have decided to borrow a tune from the Dubya playbook and declare "Mission accomplished".

Those more experienced than myself were surprised that Bossiaea foliosa was flowering this late in the season.  It was in a very sheltered position behind a moderate sized rock.
 In a nearby area, close to the Creek marker in the mudmap, there were many flowering Lotus australis.

 Getting to that spot we found some Swainsona behrii. ...
.... and Cullen microcephalum.
 Moving back into general images we have Oreomyrrhis eriopoda, the native Carraway (possibly this should have been included in the other inflorescence section).
 Fruit and seeds of Exocarpos strictus which look even less like cherries than the fruit of E. cupressiformis.
Some Bulbine glauca.  These popped up throughout the walk but all were getting close to their use-by date.
The fierce burrs of Acaena novae-zelandiae.
Finally a grass: subject to whatever mysteries the taxonomists have been doing while the rest of us were focusing on Christmas pudding, I am advised this is Dichelacne sp.
The other (mainly natural) stuff from the walk is in a second post.  This one is already large enough.

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