A trip to Bush Ranger Country!

Pultenaea pedunculata, Matted Bush-pea

Pultenaea pedunculata, Matted Bush-pea

It is not often that the club conducts midweek excursions as most members are busy doing other things, but on Melbourne Cup Day we headed out to Bush Ranger Bushland Reserve and beyond. This reserve is bisected by the Pittong Lismore Road and is down the road from Scarsdale.

To the surprise of some we were joined by the Australian Plants Group from Ballarat. Some members belong to both groups. In no time we had 13 people enjoying the sunny weather, renewing their plant identification skills and looking for things of interest, mainly orchids. John had photos and GPS points that he had taken when the site was burnt in 2009 and was on a mission to find the exact spots again.

An area yet to recover from an autumn burn in 2011

An area yet to recover from an autumn burn in 2011

There was much discussion about orchid identification and it helps to be really observant, have a good memory and have taken measurements of relevant floral parts. One site had been through a very hot fire in 2011 and not yet recovered although one group of survivors were the sun orchids.

After lunch were drove to the Rokewood Cemetery grassland. On arrival the group was briefed about the African Weed-orchid, an invasive weed and more recent arrival to the grassland. We hoped we wouldn’t find any after all were thought to have been removed last year, but this was short-lived.

Soon members were calling out that they had found some. The weeds were swiftly dug out making sure to remove the tubers and flower stems. After a flurry of activity about 30 were removed and placed in plastic bags for disposal.

Luckily they were at an early stage of flowering and the seed had yet to set. It is not advisable to handle them when they are dropping seed as it is easily transferred to footwear and clothing. See photos of the weed-orchid here

We then had an opportunity to stroll through the grassland where there lots of flowers including the common everlasting, scaly buttons, button wrinklewort and blue grass lily. A few featherheads were staring to open out. The grassland was looking great.

The aircraft  navigation beacon at Enfield

The aircraft navigation beacon at Enfield

At about 3pm some members decided to  leave for home and  5 stopped off at Beacon Hill at Enfield. Tongue orchids were sending up flower spikes, we spotted the dwarf boronia and the Heath Milkwort, Comesperma erincium. The whole hill side was covered in the white flowers of tea tree.

Heath Milkwort

Heath Milkwort

After a great excursion of Saturday to Broomfield and Kooroocheang I wondered about having the interest and energy to look at more sites so soon. I decided that in spring there is so much to see that it is worth every moment you spend out in the bush

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