30 Sep 2008

Australian wildflower magic

Back at home in the country, we made a trip this week to The Basin in St Arnaud State Forest for nature study.

The Australian native Gorse Bitter Pea, Daviesia ulicifolia, was in full bloom and looking magnificent, and Jemimah chose this for her nature study specimen this week. Here's a picture of the artist at work!

Nuri Mass in her lovely book, Australian Wildflower Magic, suggests pretending you are an insect that had come to visit a pea flower:

Gently, with the tip of your finger, touch on to the top of the keel (the two joined petals at the bottom) and see how it swings downward. Most likely your finger will now be dusted with yellow pollen because, sheltering inside that little boat-like keel are the flower's 10 stamens - also its pistil. So you see, this is exactly what happens to an insect visitor when he goes burrowing into the flower in search of nectar. Then, the first thing that happens when he visits his next flower is that some of this pollen rubs off on to its pistil. And so, that all-impoortant carrying of pollen from flower to flower has taken place once again.

The bush is gay with Pea Flowers,
They're bright as golden gems,
And poised with flutter petals,
Like butterflies on stems!

Nuri Mass Australian Wildflower Magic p66

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