Grass-trees in Canadian Regional Park

Two grass-trees grow in Canadian Regional Park. Austral Grass-tree Xanthorhoea austalis is wide spread in the park with Small Grass-tree Xanthorhoea minor in a few areas. In some areas these two species grow in close proximity.

Austral Grass-trees develop a trunk as they grow where as the Small Grass-tree stem is mainly below ground level.

Other differences

Feature Austral Grass-tree Small Grass-tree
Flower spike Flowering section longer than stem. Flowering section shorter than stem.
Leaf cross-section Diamond shape. Triangular shape.
Leaf colour Blue-green with whitish bloom. Green.
Form Trunk may branch. Several tufts of leaves at ground level.

Xanthorrhoea australis and minor IMG_4227aAustral Grass-tree on left with skirt of dead leaves covering trunk. Small Grass-tree on right with several tufts of leaves.

 

May Excursion – Pryor’s Park

The next few articles will cover several different sites of interest to Field Naturalists. The May excursion was to some areas that are less regularly visited by our group. Seven Field Nats began at Pryor’s Park, at the top end of Eureka Street in Ballarat. This reserve managed by City of Ballarat and includes an area revegetated by the local friends group, after some pines and conifers were harvested.

The other section is still pine plantation but has more indigenous understorey than you would expect to see under pines.  Part of the official reserve boundary is taken up with the golf course and the management there is supposed to contribute funds to the upkeep of the reserve.

It didn’t take long to see several types of fungi including the Fly Agaric. Years ago when this reserve was visited by the club it was possible to see glimpses of the city of Ballarat, especially if you stood on the seat but the revegetation has now increased in height blocking the view. On the way out of the reserve, Emily spotted a clump of dried seed heads of the African Weed Orchid,  so if you visit in the spring take precautions not to spread this invasive species. Pryor Park flora list.

A walk in the sunshine

About thirty people turned up for the walk in the northern end of Canadian Forest today. We enjoyed a stroll through the bush looking at various sites related to the Cremorne Rifle Range and then onto the site with the tree ferns. There were a few fungi to see but not many flowers. We finished the walk which was led by the Friends of the Canadian Corridor, with a cup of tea and some fruit cake. We noticed the colourful heath on the way out of the park.

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Cool Burn

 

Parks Victoria conducted a cool burn in Canadian (Woowookarung) Regional Park on 9 May 2017. The crew involved are commended for the environmental awareness.

Austral Grass-trees were individually ignited. The fuel load was reduced by burning the dry skirts without damaging Common Heath flowering near by.

IMG_4178a

Cool burn of Austral Grass-tree skirts

This should reduce the heat of future burns and prevent the damage done to hollow trees as seen in a hot burn in 2015.

 

Image

A Walk in Canadian Forest

Bring on the Emperor

This caterpillar was spotted in some bush near Bannockburn recently.

Emperor Gum Moth larvae

A chance inspection

Unfortunately sometimes the only way we get to see a bird close up is when it dies. In this case it was a juvenile Crimson Rosella. The colouring is beautiful.

 

Insect Plant Interactions

At our March meeting the topic was insect plant interactions. Here are some photos of different insects on an everlasting daisy. Each insect is getting something from the plant. Our 7 April meeting is something completely different and will be about the Falkland Islands. This year’s meeting topics and excursions list has recently been updated  – link

 

What is in a name?

Over the years there has been uncertainty in which name is correct for one of the sites we regularly visit. Do we go to Mt Beckwith or Mt Beckworth? At last night’s meeting a copy of a letter was presented that clarified the name to use. The letter written in 1988 was from Dr Jim Willis in response to Helen Burgess, one of our members.

in part it says …

My apologies for having kept you waiting nearly a month for a response to your letter of May 20th, re correa occurrence at Mt. Beckwith – I do think that ought to be accepted as the spelling, since Major Mitchell named the mount after his former military colleague, Col. Thomas Sydney Beckwith; goodness knows who subsequently mis-spelt the name “Beckworth”. Anyway, it’s a great pity that the musical aboriginal name of “Nananook” had not been retained…….

A window on our past

At our February 2017 meeting, Susan Kruss gave a really interesting presentation about some of the club history. Susan is undertaking a thesis “A Voice for Nature”, on the various ways our club has given nature a voice.

Here is a link to the slides with notes. Just click on one of the slides to make it bigger.