In large parts of the Strathbogies, the only remaining wildflowers occur along roadside verges. And its often the grassy verges, without lots of shady trees, that still have the lilies, orchids, guinea flowers, rice flowers, pink bells and boronias etc that used to occur more widely. Sadly, once such wildflowers have been lost from a roadside or paddock, they’re gone from that site forever!
There’s a shabby-looking bit of roadside vegetation at Marraweeny in the northern Strathbogies that, upon closer inspection, still supports lots of beautiful wildflowers that put on a nice display in Spring. However, you need to get out of the car and walk, in order to see and appreciate the spectacle. There are also plenty of weeds, but because the site is clear of shading trees and may have been burnt occasionally, the flowers hang-on.
Small Boronia (Boronia nana) is a prostrate shrub that has now been lost from most areas – its hanging on in just a few sites.
Its really only noticeable when flowering, blending into the ground-layer vegetation when not in flower. Its cream-pink flowers have the characteristic four petals in a star-like formation.
Milkmaids (Burchardia umbellata), though still common in some natural areas, are also slowly disappearing from roadsides. These lilies stand about 0.5 m tall and their showy, white flowers have a pink center. Being lilies, they have a tuberous root which was apparently a carbohydrate food source for Aborigines.
The Trailing Goodenia (Goodenia lanata) privides a splash of yellow in the ground-layer when in flower and healthy populations can carpet the ground.
Even Pink Bells (Tetratheca ciliata), which used to be widespread on roadsides and in grassy forest, are slowly disappearing. Again, they are hardly noticed for most of the year, but their pink flowers on tall spikes push up through grass and taller vegetation in Spring.
An old favourite, the Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata)