Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, October 12, 2007

Native Plants at Belmore Falls

Here are some photos of plants taken at the Belmore Falls area, which is about 5 Km south of Robertson. It is basically a sandstone area (with cliffs, overlooking the Upper Kangaroo Valley). However, there is a deep gully above the falls, in which there is dense Eucalypt forest, with some wet gully (or rainforest) plants (Coachwood, and Callicoma, and Tree Ferns) amongst the Eucalypts. About 100 metres either side of the creek, the plant communities dry out rapidly, to thick Eucalypt and Banksia and Hakea scrub - but classic sandstone-based plant communities.

The most unusual plant "record" is this plant of the Braidwood Waratah (Telopea mongaensis).
This plant is known to occur to the south of the Robertson area, near Bundanoon Creek, in the Meryla Pass area, and PlantNet report it as occurring at Fitzroy Falls. So, depending upon how precise these records are mean to be taken, this Belmore Falls record is a minor extension of the range of this species, of either about 15 Km north-east, (from Fitzroy Falls) or some 30 Km north-east (from Bundanoon Creek). This plant is growing in heavy shade of tall Eucalypts, approx 20 metres from a small creek, and about 50 metres from the main Barrengarry Creek. There are Callicoma and Coachwood trees around, and some specimens of Lomatia myricoides.

Close-up of flower. Note that this species opens its flowers from the top (centre) of the flower, whereas the NSW Waratah opens its flowers from the lower (outside) part of the flower, first.I have only found one specimen of this species here in the Belmore Falls area, but there might be more specimens which I have not seen. I shall have a further look around for more specimens in the next week, while this plant is in flower.

Here is a distance shot, showing the flat-topped form of this flower - quite different from the NSW Waratah.
In fairness, this is not a good specimen, but it is the only flower on the only plant of this species which I have found in this area.

By way of contrast here is a small white-flowered specimen of the Tetratheca genus, (possibly Tetratheca thymifolia) Normally, this species has lilac flowers, but I came across this white flowered specimen when going in to check on the Telopea mongaensis (above).
Here is the perfectly formed bud of the plant known as "Narrow-leafed Drumsticks" Isopogon anethifolius. This is a multiple-flowered head - an "inflorescence".

It is perfectly formed, with the two different angled spiral lines in the construction of the flower head. These are known as "Fibonacci Spirals", in which the arrangement of flower sections in the head are said to relate to each other as two adjacent numbers in the series of "Fibonacci numbers" There are classic illustrations on that site, of flatter flowers, (Sunflowers and Echinacea) which make it slightly easier to see the alternate spiral lines.
This plant opens its flowers from the lower edge, first. The individual flowers open with 4 twisted petals, and each individual flower in the head has a prominent protruding central structure.

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