Grassland Flora.

Roadsides and country lanes are among some of the last places where a little of the native ground flora that once covered the red gum plains clings to existence. Sadly though it is becoming much rarer, due to a number of factors including lack of rainfall, the smothering effect of introduced weeds and grasses, and physical disturbance.  This is only too evident along some of the back roads and lanes running through farmland in the local area. One elevated stretch of verge along a road that held a nice population of the Purple Diuris, Diuris punctata, was stripped for road making material, wiping out those orchids. Many years ago one could find along that same road the Spur Velleia, Velleia paradoxa, growing at the extent of its south easterly range.  Despite several recent searches it has not been found, possibly never to be seen there again. There is the odd bright spot, a high point on one little used lane holds some native flora, eg. Xerochrysum viscosum, Hardenbergia violaceae, Arthropodium milleflorum, and Diuris sulphurea. And, on a clay roadside bank, a small population of Eutaxia microphylla at the extreme easterly extent of its range has persisted against all odds, since first being observed nearly fifty years ago.

Country cemeteries too are sometimes refuges for native flora. An area of native grassland holding a nice selection species of has been preserved at the local cemetery, where the Golden Moths, Diuris chryseopsis are flowering at the moment.

Early Nancy, Clustered Everlasting and Common Rice-flower are flowering too, while a little later we’ll see Diuris punctata, Chocolate Lilies, Milkmaids, Blue Grass-lily etc.

Precious reminders of a largely lost and forgotten landscape.

The first two images will enlarge with a click.

Spring #2.

This post continues with observations of the abundance and diversity of invertebrate life, following the previous seasons’ worrying decline. Focusing this time on the native garden, where the Grevillea Burgundy and Hakea purpurea are attracting insects to harvest pollen and nectar. Honey bees in numbers are gathering the Grevillea nectar, while small golden-haired flower wasps prefer the sweetness from the Hakea.

The main native bee observed to date in the garden, female Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) callophylae is working hard, collecting pollen from the Grevillea and the Bulbine Lilies

Stiletto flies, (Therevidae) are perching on the Leptospermum macrocarpum next to the Grevillea. The larvae of these flies are ground dwelling and predatory.

Another interesting fly observed on the grevillea was a False Blowfly, Stomorhina species, (Rhiniidae) The larvae of these are also ground dwelling predators and the adults are obviously pollinators.

Some images will enlarge with a click.