19 July 2005

Weird native flowers

life cycle of native flower

Australian wildlife seems to specialise in being... different. This flower is native to the Joondalup area, but I’ve never seen it elsewhere.

It starts out as a reasonably normal-looking bud, then opens to show a bundle of pale green rods with darker tips. The rods lengthen, then separate and spread. The spread rods then each split and “peel” back from a very slim translucent core to form a pillow of pale yellow curls bearing the normal polleny, nectary bits that the bees so enjoy wallowing in.

This then collapses down again to a dry, leathery core which falls apart to reveal a few seed-pods. The pods split to fling the seeds a few meters, where (if they’re fortunate) they get to start a new bush.

The leaves are as sharp as they look. The bushes typically stand about two metres tall, and they are typical (for Western Australian flora, at least) in their response to lack of water. First they rush any existing seed-pods to completion, then the whole bush dies suddenly and goes brown in a matter of days.

This is how I was able to snap a complete cycle in one sitting. These bushes are just north of the Winton Road light industrial business district, in the freeway reserve alongside the train tracks. One had flowers in various stages of development, and its neighbour had given up the ghost, hastening the seeds through their final stages.

This was an enjoyable ride, and felt almost like real exercise. I dropped our van off in Winton Road to get fixed (clutch slave cylinder was dying) and cycled back home via Lakeside shopping centre and this spot. The FOSTFOLG Beastie performed flawlessly again.

Because the van is a Japanese-domestic (“Toyota Master Ace Surf Diesel 4WD”), the slave cylinder has to wing its way across the Nullarbor tonight for installation tomorrow.

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