BMCS PLANT STUDY GROUP OUTINGS 2015
A very wet day and the 5 members who attended retired to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and viewed the current exhibition, "We Don't Need a Map" - photographs, paintings and videos of Martu Country, north-western Australia with desert flora and fauna.
Centennial Glen, Blackheath, led by Sue Nicol – 9 present. The highlight was finding Utricularia sandersonii in flower a small perennial carnivorous plant. It is endemic to South Africa but appears to have naturalised in the Centennial Glen at Blackheath.
Fairy Dell, Springwood, led by Helen Yoxall – We walked the 2 kilometre circuit track through Fairy Dell Reserve, a narrow gully just south of Springwood's town centre. Members assisted in augmenting Helen's flora list of this reserve to 145 species, including 10 orchid species. The track first took us through the riparian vegetation of Magdala Creek (a tributary of Glenbrook Creek) including Ceratopetalum apetalum, Acmena smithii, Tristaniopsis laurina and Callicoma serratifolia, and many varieties of ferns in the understorey. The orchid Chiloglottis seminudum was in flower and the remarkable fungi kept the photographers amongst us busy. Then we made the gentle climb to Lawson Lookout through open forest dominated by Eucalyptus piperita, Corymbia gummifera and Angophora costata. The walk ended at Helen's for lunch and some of us then went on to "Science at the Local", the bi-monthly lecture series at Springwood Sports Club, where we heard a talk about the Australian PlantBank by John Siemon, Curator Manager, Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.
Hassan's Walls – led by Margaret Baker - The group set out with Margaret Baker and Suzanne Lollback, a co-author of Native Plants Hassans Walls Reserve Lithgow, on this sunny Autumn morning, to investigate the plants of the 'Banksia Walk' in the Hassans Walls Reserve. The loop walk through an Open Forest community of Eucalyptus sieberi, E. blaxlandii and E. radiata, certainly lived up to its name. The highlight of the day was the presence of the banksias. Banksia cunninghamii, B. spinulosa and everyone's favourite B. marginata, coloured the sclerophyll understorey and provided for the additional attraction of a range of birds including New Holland Honeyeaters, White-throated Treecreepers and Variegated Wrens. Other smaller plants including Monotoca scoparia, Platysace linearifolia, Pomaderris andromedifolia, Xanthosia pilosa and early flowering Leucopogon ericoides and Boronia microphylla dotted the walk in whites and pinks. There were plenty of grasses and sedges to challenge Meredith, and others interested in life closer to the litter layer were rewarded with several orchids including Chiloglottis trilabra and Pterostylis parviflora, and a fascinating range of fungi.
October Creek, Mt Wilson – led by Meredith Brownhill – 9 present - It was a cold & windy day field trip, with Eucalypt Woodlands, Creek and swampy vegetation plus Pagoda vegetation. Eight species of Eucalypts were identified; Cryptandra propinqua was flowering and we found Acacia hamiltoniana and Leptospermum macrocarpum. The leaves of numerous orchid species were also found.
Water Nymph Dell, Wentworth Falls – led by Lesley Gersen – 9 present – impressive was the good variety of ferns and the tall moss Dawsonia
Wianamatta Regional Park – led by Peter Ridgeway – We left the Blue Mountains for a day to visit Cumberland Plain vegetation communities. This recently-opened Regional Park had plenty of interesting flora to offer including a diversity of endangered species: Dillwynia tenuifolia, Micromyrtus minutiflora, Persoonia nutans, and Grevillea juniperina subsp. juniperina.
Dark's Common, Lapstone – led Stephanie Chew There was an interesting and diverse array of species, including Eucalypts, as the site is located on the transitional zone between the sandstone and shale. We found a few species that some members hadn't come across before, with Acacia amoena being the most memorable. There was a range of groundcovers and scramblers that are not so common in the Upper Mountains. The lunch spot was pretty nice at a lookout above the railway cutting and Glenbrook Creek looking south over the Mount Portal section of the National Park.
Blue Gum Swamp Creek – led by Don Cameron -Six people participated in this Plant Study Group outing on a beautiful spring day with enough heat for a Brown Snake to be fully mobile. One new member was present and he brings to the group a strong interest in grasses, which will be invaluable.
We walked along the fire trail through woodland towards Blue Gum Swamp Creek and soon encountered Calytrix tetragona plants in full bloom. The site has the largest population of Leucopogon fletcheri, which is listed as endangered under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. In preparation for Peter Ridgeway's annual survey of this population of L. fletcheri, we examined seedlings of it and similar species closely to enable reliable identification of them.
The bush has regenerated well during the two wet years since the October 2013 bush fire at Winmalee. Fortunately, most of the riparian vegetation along the East side of Blue Gum Swamp Creek was not burnt. We heard frequent calls of Striated Thornbills, Brown thornbills and Brown Gerygones, indicating healthy populations of these species.
The peak of spring flowering was approaching, so the bush was ablaze with wildflowers. Boronia ledifolia is one that caught my eye. Orchids were a highlight of the outing. We saw Acianthus caudatus, Pterostylis nutans, Glossodia major, Caladenia catanata, C. carnea and Thelymitra ixioides.
October Creek, Mt Wilson – led by Sue Nicol – 8 present. The area has still not recovered from the October 2013 fires but there was still much to interest us on the walk down. Highlights were the orchids Thelymitra ixioides, Diuris sulphurea and the seldom seen Thelymitra carnea which only opens around noon on warm, sunny days in October. We were amazed by the stunning rock garden on top of the pagoda with big clumps of Thelionema ceaspitosum, Dampiera stricta , Leptospermum macrocarpa, Epacris reclinata , Leucopogon microphylla and Tetratheca growing on almost bare rock.
Also - Birds seen this day included Tree Martins and Rufous Whistlers.
North Katoomba – led by Frances Scarano –We walked through the reserve beginning at the corner of First Ave and Wattle Tree Rd. It was as one member said "a gluttony of botany", a profusion of flowering. Gompholobium uncinatum with its beautiful orange flowers and a Grevillea which did not appear to be either laurifolia or gaudichaudii, some more hybridisation? were among the highlights.
Berghofer's Pass – lead by Meredith Brownhill – 11 present.
A cool morning was welcome as we set out to see the changes post October 2013 bushfire.
Grasses and sedges were the dominant species with Acacia falciformis recovering well too.
The geological structure of Narrabeen Sandstone with layers of shale and clay have enabled a diversity of Eucalypts to thrive – E.piperita, E.radiata, E.sieberi, E blaxlandii, E. oreades, E.eugenioides and E.cypellocarpa. There were several tall trees of Elaeocarpus reticulatus in full flower which were greatly admired by us all.
The Pass is known for its orchid population and we saw a good population of Dipodium roseum in flower – species id thanks to Robin. The other orchid species known to be here had flowered earlier in the year.
On the western aspect we found plants associated with Hassan's Walls; Xerochrysum viscosum, Polyscias sambucifolia subsp. sambucifolia
Our other find was Persoonia acerosa, a vibrant plant in full flower. This species is listed as Vulnerable under the TSC Act 1995 (NSW) and the EP&BC Act 1999 (Cwlth).
We enjoyed the morning with bird song, a sighting of a pair of Gang Gangs and a good view of a mistloebird, and a sighting of a handsome Whites Skink. Then we drove to Mt York and had a happy and delicious lunch together to celebrate an interesting year.