The time of the butterflies
It's the time of the butterflies. Landcare member Julie Macdonald says .....
'The Imperial Blue butterflies are out. They use young wattles and have a symbiotic relationship with a specific species of ant, which guard their juveniles and are rewarded with food secreted from the butterfly lavae. Down by Riddells Creek, by the car park as you come in from Gisborne, before the bridge, three young wattles (which the ants prefer) are hosting this year's continuation of this amazing life cycle. Look carefully for chrysalis, ants, butterflies.'
Locally Common, and Remarkable
Brunonia australis, the blue pincushion, is found widely throughout Victoria. It is not threatened or endangered. It is not on any list that entices bevies of botanists to track its every appearance lest we humans trample it out of existence. No Minister for Environment will ride up on a white horse attended by a phalanx of regulators to demand its protection.
'Locally common', say the flora websites.
Hunting for orchids
Barrm Birrm has 36 recorded species of orchid, but this doesn't mean they are lined up for you to admire them. You have to look out for them, dropping your eyes to the ground, walking slowly, staying ready for their flash of colour or shape of their leaves. Patience is required, and attention to the signs of each particular orchid.
Getting up close
A lot of the native plant action in Barrm Birrm is down at ground level, in amongst the grasses. To see it, you have to get down close, and there's no better way to get close to ground level than hunting for gorse regrowth!
Bluebell Creeper - Billardiera heterophylla (Weed)
You'll find this gorgeous native climber at your local garden nursery, but when it gets out and about, it's hard to stop.
Sweet Pittosporum - Pittosporum undulatum (Weed)
This tree, a native of East Gippsland, has settled in properties along Gap Road. Its orange seeds are eaten by birds and possums.
Sallow Wattle - Acacia longifolia (Weed)
Undeniably a pretty acacia - bright green all year, and brilliant yellow flowers in Spring. Just not in the bush, where it shades out the grasses!
The lovely Cinnamon Wattle is flowering
What the Cinnamon Wattle lacks in bulk, it makes up in delicacy. It's out now in Barrm Birrm, and suddenly, it's everywhere, scattered through the lower slopes.