Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley  (Meredith Brownhill)
Plant Study Group - 2023

About us & Projects

Yearly programs (with reports from outings where available):
2024    2023    2022    2020    2019    2018    2017    2016    2015

The BMCS Plant Study Group (PSG) generally meets on the second Sunday of each month and travels to different locations in the Blue Mountains. Before attending for the first time please contact Meredith by email at Changes to the program appear in red.

Plant Study Group 2023 Program

Notes:*Outing is a week earlier than usual.**Additional outing.
 Date (2023)  Location Leader More info
 8 Jan  Ikara Ridge Sue  Report of outing 
 *5 Feb  Mt Victoria Cemetery Lyndal Detailed survey
 **16 Feb  Mt Annan Botanic Gardens & Herbarium Meredith  Report of outing 
 12 Mar  Coachwood Glen Sue  Report of outing 
 *2 Apr  Murphy's Glen track Jelena  Report of outing 
 14 May  Castlereagh woodlands Alison  Report of outing 
 11 Jun  South Hazelbrook Jo  Report of outing 
 9 Jul  Dharawal National Park Meredith  Report of outing 
 13 Aug  Glenbrook area Helen  Report of outing 
 10 Sep  Linden Sue  Report of outing 
 8 Oct  Rigby Hill Sue  Report of outing 
 12 Nov  Dobbs Drift Alison  Report of outing 
 10 Dec  Jackson Park, Faulconbridge Helen  Report of outing 

2023 Reports

10 December - Faulconbridge

Leucopogon lanceolatus in fruitLeucopogon lanceolatus in fruit  (Helen Yoxall)
Dipodium variegatumDipodium variegatum (Sue Nicol)

12 members attended the last field trip of the year at Jackson Park Reserve, Faulconbridge, once part of the Sir Henry Parkes estate.

The short circular walk here is through open forest dominated by Angophora costata, Eucalyptus piperita, Corymbia gummifera and Syncarpia glomulifera, with a shrubby understory. A small watercourse supports riparian vegetation including the graceful Schoenus melanostachys.

Today’s highlight were fine displays of two species of Hyacinth Orchids - Dipodium variegatum and D. roseum. We also observed five species of geebung - Persoonia laurina, P. levis, P. linearis, P. mollis and P. pinifolia.

After the walk we enjoyed a shared Christmas lunch, followed by our annual business meeting. Achievement awards were presented, Meredith was thanked for her excellent management of the Group this year and agreed to continue as Coordinator in 2024, a number of group tasks were allocated to volunteers and next year’s varied and exciting program of walks and bus trips was planned.

Leader, Report: Helen Yoxall

12 November - Dobbs Drift

Philotheca obovalisPhilotheca obovalis (Helen Yoxall)

Our November Plant Study Group outing saw us foray into the edge of beautiful southern pagoda country.

We stopped en route at Clarence to see the rare Acacia meiantha growing under the powerlines amongst colourful flowering Grevillea laurifolia and Dampiera stricta, with Mirbelia platylobioides in fruit.

A second roadside stop to see Acacia dorothea amongst Boronia microphylla and Daviesia latifolia in fruit.

Morning tea at Dobbs Drift saw us sit beside Philotheca obovalis (pictured).

The Thelionema caespitosum was striking and we pondered for a time to identify Harmogia densifolia and Phyllota squarrosa.

A final stop on our way back saw Comesperma ericinum, Gompholobium huegelii and Astrotricha ledifolia in flower.

Leader, Report: Alison Hewitt

8 October - Rigby Hill

Leptospermum macrocarpumLeptospermum macrocarpum (Sue Nicol)

Seven members gathered at Mt Victoria station for the drive round to Rigby Hill.

The track down the gully to the car park passed many Waratahs in flower. Before setting out up the hill we had a look at the remains of a 3-4m tall Calomeria amaranthoides (Plume Bush) plant which had flowered last summer.

This whole area was severely burnt in the fires of 2019-20 so up on the open hillside all the vegetation was regrowth from then.

We were amazed that even though some plants were tiny they were still in full flower, eg Boronia floribunda, less than 10cm tall but covered in pink blooms.

A signature plant for this area is Leptospermum macrocarpum which was looking stunning in flower.

Leader, Report, Photo: Sue Nicol

10 September - Linden

Epacris rigidaEpacris rigida (Sue Nicol)

We had beautiful weather for our September walk along part of the old Cox's Road. Ten members attended and four were new to the group.

Typical flowering plants at this site were Epacris rigida, which likes a rocky site with shallow soils, Boronia floribunda and Zieria laevigata. Dampiera stricta and Tetratheca rupicola were colourful in sunny spots and Darwinia fascicularis was abundant.

The morning tea and lunch spot gave us expansive views towards Mt Banks. Everyone enjoyed relaxing in the spring sunshine.

Leader, Report, Photo: Sue Nicol

13 August - Glenbrook

lissanthe strigosaLissanthe strigosa (Helen Yoxall)

Five hardy members of the Group decided to ignore the day’s threatening rain and explore the beginning of the Euroka Walking Track at Glenbrook, an area of dry Sclerophyll Woodland on sandstone.

Even though spring is still ahead, we were greeted by displays of the remarkable green and purple flowers of Grevillea mucronulata and the mauve pea flower of Hovea linearis.

Wattles were abundant, including the pale-flowered lower mountains variant of Acacia terminalis and the vivid yellow of Acacia brownii.

We had lunch on a small creek under a fine-foliaged Angophora bakeri.

Later in the afternoon we drove on to Portal Lookout, stopping off to look at areas where there is more clay influence in the soils. There were fields of Acacia elongata amongst the ironbarks (Eucalyptus crebra and E. fibrosa). Other plants were Lissanthe strigosa, Olearia microphylla and Daviesia squarrosa.

A curiosity seen on a eucalypt sapling here was a Four-horned Gumtree Gall (Apiomorpha munita) caused by a scale insect.

Apiomorpha munitaApiomorpha munita Four horned gumtree gall (Helen Yoxall)

Leader, Report, Photos: Helen Yoxall

9 July - Dharawal National Park

Banksia spinulosaBanksia spinulosa (Robin Murray)

Plant group members and other BMCS members enjoyed a bus trip to Dharawal National Park.

We made a new record and walked 4.5ks! This is a long walk for us, as often we only walk 1/2km!

There was a lovely diversity of plants and the Banksias were magnificent.

Leader and report: Meredith Brownhill

11 June - South Hazelbrook

Bossiaea heterophyllaBossiaea heterophylla (Janice Hughes)

Twelve group members attended an easy walk to Adam’s Lookout in South Hazelbrook in glorious sunshine.

A good variety of Proteaceae plants were seen that have new growth following the wet seasons. This photo of Bossiaea heterophylla – a pea flower, is flowering late and is in its common small form – up to 30cms.

Leader: Jo Newman, Report: PSG team

14 May - Castlereagh Woodlands

Allocasuarina glareicolaAllocasuarina glareicola cladodes with five teeth per node resprouting from the base (Alison Hewitt)

Sunday 14th May was a sunny morning for our Plant Study Group outing to the Castlereagh Woodlands. The area was only a few months since fire, and we had the fun challenge of identifying species re-establishing in the ash with the help of some plant lists compiled prior to the fire.

The scribbly gums had lost their scribbly bark and the rushes and grasses were springing back. Flowers were few, but some early dainties were Comesperma sphaerocarpum, Orianthera pusilla, Goodenia paniculata and Hypericum gramineum.

We were able to relocate nine or ten Allocasuarina glareicola which were reshooting from their bases at a location where they had previously been logged as fruiting adults. This species is rare and restricted to the Castlereagh area.

Leader (and report): Alison Hewitt

2 April - Woodford

It was a damp and rainy start as seven plant enthusiasts explored around exposed rocky platforms beside the road to Murphy’s Glen. The heath was dense and there was profuse growth of Cordifex fastigatus after wet seasons. Both low growing woody shrubs Baeckea brevifolia, and Leucopogon microphylla were covered in white flowers.

Bossiaea heterophyllaBossiaea heterophylla (Helen Yoxall)
Bossiaea heterophylla close upBossiaea heterophylla close up (Helen Yoxall)

Following the 2019/2020 wildfires the Eucalypt woodlands were recovering with an understory of Fabaceae plants. We found a community of vigorous pea plants with orange and reddish flowers. After discussion and checking field guides we identified them as Bossiaea heterophylla which typically have sparse foliage and are straggly in appearance. It is also called Variable Bossiaea. A hot cup of tea at Jelena’s place was very welcome on the way home.

Leader: Jelena Emmerick
Report: Meredith Brownhill

Group members by Jelena EmmerickGroup members (Jelena Emmerick)

12 March - Coachwood Glen

Cyptotrama aspratum fungusCyptotrama aspratum fungus (Sue Nicol)
Coachwood GlenCoachwood Glen (Sue Nicol)

Seven members of the Plant Study Group enjoyed a lovely morning in the rainforest. After a dry couple of weeks, fungi were not abundant but we found some Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria), large bracket fungi and tiny Cyptotrama aspratum on fallen branches. We got to grips with a feast of ferns, some identified for the first time by some members eg Pellaea falcata (Sickle fern) and Asplenium flabellifolium (Necklace fern). We also found some orchid leaves (Sarchochilus sp) on pieces of fallen bark and hiding in the leaf litter were leaves of Corybas and Chiloglottis.

Leader (and report): Sue Nicol

16 February - Mt Annan Botanic Gardens and Herbarium

PSG Mt Annan Bus TripMt Annan trip (Lyn Farthing)
Mt Annan Herbarium VaultMt Annan Herbarium Vault (Sue Nicol)

With excitement in the air 13 bus passengers set out for Mt Annan Botanic Gardens in the Council Community Bus, driven by a capable volunteer driver. Our group was a mix of Nursery Volunteers and Plant Group members, so sharing our interest in native flora and the National Herbarium was rewarding. Herbarium staff took us on a tour of the newly designed building with sealed rooms for drying plants at 30c, freezing at minus 20c to sterilise plant specimens, and then a vault for storing specimens for perpetuity.

The Herbarium has plant samples collected from 1770 by Joseph Banks, and now the entire plant collection of Isobel Bowden, a late member of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and renowned for her botanical contribution to conservation, is held there. See the photos of two of Isobel's specimens, gratefully given to us by the Herbarium. Also find Isobel's biography here.

Isobel Bowden collection - Epacris obtusifoliaIsobel Bowden collection Epacris obtusifolia (National Herbarium of NSW)
Isobel Bowden collection - Sprengelia incanaIsobel Bowden collection Sprengelia incana (National Herbarium of NSW)

We also had a good discussion with the Herbarium staff about protocols for plant collection, noting a license is required to collect native flora.

All this activity was followed by a very enjoyable lunch in the shady Grevillea Gardens, followed by a cool & shady walk through the Evolutionary Garden. The extra thrill of the day was finding a turtle in a creek and seeing a flock of Blue Triangle Butterflies.

Leader (and report): Meredith Brownhill

Long-necked TurtleLong-necked Turtle (Rod Provis)

8 January - Ikara Ridge, Mount Victoria

Stylidium lineareStylidium lineare

The first walk for 2023 was on a beautiful, clear, blue day after a week of rain.

Ten plant enthusiasts enjoyed the spectacular landscape and were delighted with the masses of white flannel flowers (Actinotus helianthi) and Platysace lanceolata as well as the vibrant pink tufts of Stylidium lineare growing on almost bare rock surfaces.

Deep blue Thelionema ceaspitosum was a new plant for some. We also saw a tally of 5 different orchids, notably Cryptostylis subulata (large tongue orchid).

Leader: Sue Nicol

top of page
© 2024  Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land
– the Darug and Gundungurra people –
and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
website by Waratah Software