My time spent with Sydney wildflowers

A particular aim for one of the chapters of my PhD is to answer the question: Are plants flowering in Sydney earlier than they did in the past, due to warming air temperatures? The fieldwork that I get to undertake for this chapter is really cool! It involves weekly observations of flowering time across 40 plant species in the Sydney region. It has been a retreat away from my desk each week spent out in the bush looking at amazing flowers.

I want to post the collection of wildflower photos that I took in the Sydney region for two reasons. Firstly, they are beautiful and form an integral part of my PhD in working out whether our plants are responding to climate change. Secondly, there are more than 4 million people living in Sydney and green spaces and natural areas in our city are declining. I’m hoping this blog is way to connect more people to the native flowers around them and perhaps spend more time out in national parks or natural areas looking out for our native wildflowers too.

All photos are taken in Ku-ring-gai National Park, Lane Cove National Park and Wallumatta Nature Reserve from July 2017-January 2018. All photos have been taken on my iPhone so please excuse the poor quality at times! These photos are by no means an extensive list of all the species in Sydney, just a few that caught my eye at the time.

July

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Grevillea speciosa, known as Red Spider Flower, only found in NSW
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Epacris pulchella – “pulchella” is Latin for “little beautiful” and these wildflowers sure are!
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Philotheca salsolifolia subsp. salsolifolia
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Woollsia pungens – a stunning winter flower that makes a meadow in the America Bay Track in Ku-ring-gai NP
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A horrible plant to do fieldwork with, the spiky Acacia ulicifolia (Prickly Moses)

August

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Boronia ledifolia
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Bossiaea heterophylla – “hetero” meaning different and “phylla” meaning leaves in latin: this plant can have completely different looking leaves in different individuals and this makes it hard to identify sometimes!
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Another wattle- Acacia suaveolens
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Zieria laevigata
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This wattle – Acacia terminalis subsp. terminalis – blooms so spectacularly along Kitty’s Creek Trail in Lane Cove NP in July, it’s a sea of yellow tufts
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Pultenaea stipularis
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Epacris microphylla (with a sneaky red Darwinia glaucophylla in the background)
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Conospermum longifolium
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You may know the common flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi) but this is it’s cousin plant, Actinotus minor, each flower is only about 1 cm in diameter.
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Bossiaea scolopendria
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My favourite Sydney wildflower- Boronia serrulata (Sydney Rose)

September

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I like to call this species “fuzzy buns” and I’m hoping that this common name might spread haha – Grevillea buxifolia.
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Patersonia sericea
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One of my target species- Acacia binervia (coastal myall) in full bloom
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Gompholobium grandiflorum
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Eriostemon australasius
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A big patch of Sydney rock orchid (Dendrobium speciosum)
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Pink spider flower (Grevillea sericea)
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Leucopogon ericoides
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A spotted sun orchid – Thelymitra ixioides
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This hilariously named “love creeper” (Comesperma volubile) grows in a range of habitats in Sydney, from wet to dry, forest to coast.
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Isopogon anethifolius, also known as “narrow leafed drumsticks”
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Pultenaea flexilis – the graceful bush pea
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An amazing gem in the bush – Telopea speciossisima
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Tiny pink flowers on Kunzea capitata.

October

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Bauera ruboides
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These flowers on wedding bush – Ricinocarpos pinifolius – are mostly male flowers, you can tell by their yellow mass of stamens. For every 6 male flowers this shrub tends to only have one female flower
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Viminaria juncaceae
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This native tea tree, Leptospermum trinervium, smells fantastic when you crush it’s leaves- try it some time in the bush!
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Platylobium formosum subsp. formosum
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Epacris longiflora (Fuschia heath)
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The flowers on Callicoma serratifolia are like little fireworks exploding.

November

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A flower on Xyris juncea which is a swamp dwelling plant.
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Bright yellow flowers on Tristania neriifolia (Water Gum) which endemic to the Sydney region. It’s found on creek banks or wet rocky banks
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A field of flannel flowers (Actinotus helianthi) in the  morning sun

December

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I snuck this guy in (Persoonia chamaepitys) the Mountain Geebung, even though it wasn’t growing in any of my coastal Sydney fieldsites, I went on a trip to the Blue Mountains and found a little population of this ground dwelling beauty
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Fringe lilies – Thysanotus tuberosus – it is always exciting to see these flowers because a) they have amazing natural fringing on their petals and b) each flower only opens for a single day.
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Stylidium productum
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This photo is a bit blurry but I was so excited and got into the Christmas spirit when I saw this Blandfordia nobilis (Christmas Bells) in December
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Tetratheca ericifolia
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Lambertia formosa (mountain devil) whose nectar is a source of food used by Indigenous communities
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Angophora hispida – a stunning gum tree much shorter in height than the usual eucalypts that you see.

January

I spotted a spotted orchid – Dipodium variegatum
A sweet little Pseuderanthemum variabile (Pastel Flower)
Hibbertia bracteata
Possibly Pultenaea tuberculata (but if you think it’s not, let me know!)
A Goodenia sp. (not sure which one?)

Happy Botanising!

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