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.
Blue pincushion, Brunonia australis
Its rosette of green leaves sits quietly through the year, prolific amongst the wallaby grass in Barrm Birrm. A common plant in the common that is Barrm Birrm.
But now, late spring to early summer, the season the Wurundjeri know as Buath Gurru, when the grasses flower, Brunonia australis does something remarkable.
From its cluster of leaves it sends a single stalk 30 centimetres to the sky, to offer to passing pollinators a single flower of cornflower blue, a flower made of many small flowers, packed tightly together.
Blue is not a common colour in the bush, and cornflower blue is an uncommon colour anywhere. When it first blooms, and a summer shower have refreshed it, Brunonia australis arrests the eye. A wash of morning sunshine follows the showers, and the Blue Pincushion quivers, a dream of blue, afloat on is single stem.
What seemed a fuzz of undistinguished green stuff on the ground was in fact many Blue Pincushions in waiting, for now there is a spread of swaying blue gems above the grasses, and another over here, and look there, a delicate dusting of blue up the hillside.