Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley  (Meredith Brownhill)
Plant Study Group - 2016

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Yearly programs (with reports from outings where available):
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10 January 2016
Mt Wilson - leader Frances Scarano - 10 present
A walk along the Waterfall Walk. Frances provided us with a preliminary plant list of 47 species. During the walk we built this list up to 68. Very interesting to see this reasonably pristine rainforest track and compare it with some of the more heavily used walking tracks in south Leura/Katoomba, which are significantly denuded of plant matter eg Fern Bower, Federal Pass.
14 February 2016
Mt Banks - leader Wendy Au - 14 present
This trip was to study the plants of the Blue Mountains Basalt Forest on the top of Mt Banks. The Blue Mountains Basalt Forest, which is also found scattered at different locations within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, was listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.

The first 600 metres of the walk was on sandstone heath, with superb view of the Grose Valley. The track then enters a distinct tree line, where we stopped briefly for morning tea. There was a very short sandstone-basalt transition zone before entering the basalt forest. We began to identify plants and compared them with the NSW Scientific Committee plant list for this type of vegetation community.

We stopped near the top of the mountain for lunch, and some went further up to the peak to look for more plants. At about 1:15 pm, we headed back down the mountain and arrived at the carpark one hour later.

13 March 2016
Frenchman's Road property at Wentworth Falls - leader Lesley Gerson - 12 present
This property is located on a north-east facing ridge in the catchment of Blue Mountains Creek. Two vegetation communities dominate - an Open Forest dominated by Eucalyptus piperita, E. sieberi and Angophora costata, and a 'hanging swamp' of Coral Fern, Gleichenia dicarpa. The diversity of the forest understorey kept the Plant Study Group well-occupied with identification challenges. Amongst the very familiar plants, that included Xylomelum pyriforme with abundant woody pears, Banksias and Waratahs, we also found both leaf forms of the ancient Lycopodium deuterodensum, the secretive Pultenaea retusa, splashes of yellow from Hibbertia empetrifolia and a number of terrestrial orchid species including the flower of a tiny Chiloglottis seminuda.

The dampness of the site as it sloped towards the hillside swamp was found to encourage a range of sedges including Lepyrodia scariosa and Leptocarpus tenax. It was very generous of Margaret Sleath to allow us to botanise freely around her property and we appreciated the hospitality offered by her and her partner Geoff.

10 April 2016
Wallaroo - leader Peter Ridgeway - 12 present
Today we took a break from the Blue Mountains Sandstone to visit a new conservation property on the Cumberland Plain at Mulgoa. The aim of the day was to help the community landowners (Cumberland Land Conservancy) generate a flora species list for their site management plan. We concentrated on surveying one of the better Cumberland Plain Woodland remnants and the Riverflat Eucalypt Forest. All together we recorded 66 native species and 32 exotics which is a good diversity for shale landscapes. The CLC passed on their thanks for the assistance and we hope to visit again once restoration works are underway.

8 May 2016 cancelled due to fire

12 June 2016
Red Gum Park, Bullaburra - leader Stephanie Chew - 7 present
The Plant Study Group met at Red Gum Park Bullaburra (Genevieve Rd entrance) to assist the Bushcare group in expanding their plant species list and to set up monitoring plots for vegetation survey. The group was joined by two members of the Bushcare group, Kim and Alison (including moral support from Alison's husband Chris and son Rodney), as well as BMCC Bushcare Officers Monica Nugent and Tracy Williams. A previous management plan for the site was written some fifteen years ago and included a fairly comprehensive species list, however the group were confident that the list could be expanded, particularly in the more difficult category of sedges. The group managed to add species to the list, including several shrub and sedge species.

The group also assisted Monica in setting up 5m-wide transects to monitor the presence of Billardiera heterophylla (Bluebell Creeper), a native to Western Australia that has become an environmental weed in the southeastern states. The data will be used in a long-term study to monitor the weed's response to treatment and possibly fire as the park is planned for a controlled burn in the future. The morning was a great collaborative effort between the two groups, and we look forward to assisting the group again in future, as well as other Bushcare groups needing assistance with plant survey.

10 July 2016
Hyde Park, Hartley - leader Meredith Brownhill
Our field trip to Hyde Park was very interesting and enjoyable and we were happy to have Helen Drewe as a guest.

We were challenged a few times with new plants, although I have realised that in our first field trip we did identify Hibbertia obtusifolia and Dillwynia phylicoides, so it is interesting that we were challenged this trip.

Grevillea rosmarinifolia was in flower with quite different leaves to the cultivar species. Don concentrated on Eucalypts.

14 August 2016
Berghofer's Pass - leader Robin Murray
The group walked along Berghofer's Pass which was constructed between 1907 and 1912. It was a beautiful day and although many orchids had been seen in other years we only found one Pterostylis longifolia not quite open. We had fun coming to terms with Pomaderris of which we identified Pomaderris lanigera. A new plant for some was Boronia anemonifolia var. anemonifolia.
11 September 2016
West Glenbrook Nature Reserve - leader Margaret Baker - 11 present
The promise of a good spring flowering was all around as eleven of us set out on the 11th September 2016 to discover the botanical delights of West Glenbrook Nature Reserve. This Reserve supports an abundance of native plants in a number of different plant communities. In just over four hours we strolled through endangered Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest and several different sandstone associations where we keyed and/or named more than 100 native plants. Bush-peas including Dillwynia rudis and Daviesia squarrosa were in full bloom in the Transition Forests where they were joined by the deep yellows of Diuris maculata. An abundance of the Myrtaceous shrubs Calytrix tetragona, Euryomyrtus ramosissima and Micromyrtus ciliata impressed us with their pink variations through the ledges of sandstone. Highlights included the discovery by Sue of Gompholobium inconspicuum that as its name suggests is a tiny ground-hugger, the brilliant blue of a surprise Glossodia major lurking in a miniature forest of Drosera auriculata and a sighting in damp low heath of the elusive Velleia lyrata.
9 October 2016
Lalor Drive fire trail, Springwood - led by Helen Yoxall - 12 present
On this fine and warm Spring day, we walked the Lalor Drive fire trail, on the southern side of Springwood, to its end and return, approximately two kilometres. The trail, through typical lower mountains sandstone ridge-top open forest, was lined with masses of Actinotus helianthi, Philotheca hispidula and P. salsolifolia in full bloom. Also seen were specimens of the Bearded Orchid Calochilus paludosus, the beautiful pale pink Boronia floribunda, the delicate blue Hybanthus monopetalus and Chloanthes stoechadis with its unusual green tubular flowers. The Dillwynias had us searching through our floras and scratching our heads. The unisexual flowers of Ricinocarpos pinifolius had us revising our knowledge of floral structures and the consecutive flowering times of monoecious plants. The bush was alive with bees and dragon flies and we were lucky enough to see an Eastern Bearded Dragon, a Mountain Dragon and a Red-throated Skink. Our lunch spot was a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley of Glenbrook Creek across to Lost World Lookout.
29 October 2016
Valley of the Waters - leader Meredith Brownhill
Our extra field trip in the Valley of Waters on 29th October, 2016 was most interesting and enjoyable. We were fortunate to have an extensive plant list of Bob Coveny's from the late 1960's. Bob worked for the Royal Botanic Gardens as a plant collector for many years, so his botanical knowledge is highly regarded. Unfortunately he was not able to join us on the day.

Our main finding was Dianella tenuissima - a rare plant. The type specimen was found in 2004 in Wentworth Falls Reserve.

We look forward to many more field trips to continue the compilation of botanical knowledge in this floristically diverse Valley.

13 November 2016
Ridgewell Rd, Burramoko Ridge, Blackheath - Leader Ros King - 10 present
Today we explored forest, heath and (a very dry) swamp along trails from the locked gate. There was a wide diversity of plants flowering including many Gompholobium uncinatum. We found a few orchid species and a pink/white form of Theliomema caespitosum. There was much interest in a Drosera sp. with no basal leaves. Back at the cars we made a first draft of plant list for the day.
12 December 2016
Cahills Lookout, Boars Head, Peckmans Plateau - leader Ray Stanford - 12 present
This area had been severely burned 2 years previously and Ray explained the path of the fire and the patterns of regrowth. The regrowth of the grasses was eyecatching especially Anisopogon avenaceus, Austrodanthonia tenuior and Austrostipa pubescens. There was a spectacular flowering of Actinotus helianthi. Masses of other herbs and shrubs were regrowing and the group added many species to Ray's list.

We concluded our visit and the year with lunch at Ray's house, plenty of delicious food to share and an ice cream Christmas cake from Ray and Carol.

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