Shimmering water under an azure sky, a patchwork of colours threading through greenery, birdsong, frog calls, butterflies flitting, insect hum – a tropical paradise? No, a wetland on Wonthaggi’s outskirts.
Like a rich oriental carpet, the ephemeral wetland glowed with colour, embroidered with the yellows of buttercups and goodenia, the pinks of plantain, knotweed and loosestrife and stars of white purslane. Cushions of green yielded cryptic flowers through which slim sapphire damsel flies stitched a trail. A pure white moth clung to a stem, while hoverflies hung suspended above the blooms. Festoons of seed beaded the water ribbons and arrowgrass.
The list of plants rolled richly off the tongue as we identified them: waterribbons, pithy sword-sedge, swamp goodenia, streaked arrowgrass, long-fruit watermat, floating pondweed, toad rush, pale rush, grassy clubrush, common spike-rush, swamp club-rush, narrow-leaf cumbungi, white purslane, common rush, pennywort, duckweed, small river buttercup, slender knotweed, centella, broad-leaf rush, lesser loosestrife, austral brooklime, shiny swampmat, yellow water-buttons, upright watermilfoil and, a new plant for our wetlands, water plantain. In one patch was the fetchingly named slime mould fungus.
As we waded the margins, the swamp merged with a thicket of swamp paperbark, the water black and mysterious in the dense shade, surely a fit home for Hobyahs?
A 20-minute walk from home, two minutres off the roadside, and all these specialised wondrous plants. How lucky we are to live in such a richly diverse area. Get out and
February 2, 2014
Thank you for your very informative news - I particularly loved the article by Terri Allan. "Joy" is the word I also use to describe this beautiful and unique place - pure joy! I walk there regularly in the cooler months taking photos of everything that comes my way - particularly fungi and I have thousands of photos which I am then able to take to community groups to talk about this amazing bush area - thanks Terri. I also loathe the Pittosporum and try my best to pull them out too. I also stomp on the thistles and other wind blown seeding plants before they have flowered. Aren't we blessed with our bush areas surrounding Wonthaggi - thanks again Terri.
Heather Gardner, Wonthaggi