Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Waratahs in the bush - the real burst of Spring

3 flowers on a small bush
In Robertson, one tends to measure the real flush of Spring by the arrival of the Waratah flowers, in the bush. They grow on the sandstone country around Robertson, not strictly in Robertson itself. They do not occur naturally on the red basalt soil.

Waratahs thrive in Robertson, as garden plants. But their natural range is an evolutionary thing - they are products of the sandstone forests, dominated by Eucalypts, and a whole range of other related Proteaceae plants. The rich red basalt soils of Robertson were "taken" by the rain forests, dominated by Sassafras and other more primitive rainforest plants. But I digress.

Red bracts surround a developing flower

The Waratah "flower" is actually a head of a myriad of individual flowers, surrounded by the red bracts (modified leaves) which protect the individual true flowers until they are developed enough to swell, and protrude, in the classic shape of the Waratah "flower"

A perfectly developed flower
I have previously reminded readers that the Waratahs in the bush are protected, and the flowers ought be admired whrere they are, and not cut. The plants need to flower in order to set seed, to perpetuate their species. So, give them a chance. After all, they are our most spectacular flower. Leave them for everyone to enjoy.

These plants are growing close to the roadside, in Kangaloon, but similar plants grow in the Sandstone forests near Belmore Falls, Fitzroy Falls, Carrington Falls. Just look out for them.

Individual flowers
developing within the "head".

Click on the image, to view the individual flowers.

While I was taking these photographs, a cyclist, a visitor from Sydney, as it turned out, saw me in the bush, and called out "Aren't they great?" He was enjoying being amongst so many wonderful Waratah flowers
- and he could see that I was too.


Anonymous said...

And, as Henry said, "and the waratah red blood of love."

Denis Wilson said...

Those damned poets - sticking their noses into everything.