Thursday, October 14, 2010

Western Australia Wildflowers

We have just returned from a fabulous trip to Western Australia! Its been about 17 years since I was last in that floriferous state and this time we decided to go north of Perth (last time we went south) and follow the Everlastings Trail. This self drive trail took us up through New Norcia and Mingenew to Mullewa and then across to the coast and south back to Perth. We saw carpets of everlastings (Helichrysum sp, rhodanthe sp) as promised by colourful tourist brochures and some really unusual plants like quandongs Santalum lanceolatum covered in fruit and woody pears Xylomelum occidentale and the WA Christmas Tree Nuytsia floribunda.

I was particularly keen to find the wreath lechenaultia Lechenaultia macrantha which only grows in areas of recent disturbance (fires, earthworks) so you have to ask at the town Information Centres for their location. The volunteers are only too happy to help and we were able to find several plants in a few locations. Nothing like driving 75km out of your way to photograph a flower! It was very exciting coming across these amazing plants which can apparently grow to almost a metre in diameter. The leaves are succulent and they grow in almost pure sand. What a perfect adapation to their arid environment.

On the way home we stopped at Adelaide Airport and I read in the local paper that at Roxby Downs the hillsides are carpeted with Sturt's desert pea Swainsona formosa thanks to the recent rains. Upon reaching home I immediately set about working out how I could get there to take some photos before the flowers succumbed to the rising heat. Unfortunately it was all too hard and too expensive and will have to wait for another day!
PS After another generous fall of rain last night we are now up to 180mm of rain for Aug and Sept and 70mm already for Oct. The dam is overflowing again and everything is starting to go gangbusters!


  1. Nice blog, well written. I just wish we had your rainfall...

  2. Thanks Michael. I did read while in Perth that you guys had 'only' had about 500mm of rain during winter. Thats more than our annual average rainfall over the last 13 years! Maybe this year we might actually reach or surpass our supposed average of 630mm.