Eucalyptus leaves decompose slowly, especially in dry weather. During the decaying process they change colour and are often munched on by nymphs, grubs and caterpillars. Here are four leaves I found recently with interesting markings and colours.
Yesterday the sky was overcast but shortly before sunset the bush was lit up by an intense golden light. I’ve seen many sunsets here over the years but nothing quite as brilliant as this.
The photo below is not smoke from one of our recent bush fires. It is the same bush on a foggy morning 6 months ago.
One of the main reasons the bush looks so different after rain in summer is the greening of moss. Prickly moss Polytrichum juniperinum is a species that exhibits remarkable change. Below is a dry patch on the track on 30 November.
The photos below are of the same moss the next day. There had been about 5 mm of rain overnight.
Some other examples of brilliant colour in a variety of moss are shown below. They were also taken on 1 December.
Fortunately the Reserve doesn’t have many weeds. I did notice one Wheel Cactus Opuntia robusta recently. This weed is prevalent a few kilometres east in Nuggetty and Barringhup but I haven’t noticed it around here until now.
Quaking-grass Briza maxima is a weed of European origin. It differs in appearance from most local weeds and is often mistaken for an indigenous plant. As in the case of another out of control weed, Gazania, it is sometimes sold in nurseries. Quaking-grass is reasonable widespread in the Reserve.
Lack of rain and warm weather has made the ground cover dry out and look fairly drab over the past few weeks. Rain on Saturday night changed all this. Early on Sunday morning the stems of the flowering Slender Dodder-laurel Cassytha glabella were a brilliant lime -green colour and all the mosses and lichens had revived.
The Grey Everlasting Ozothamnus obcordatus shrub is pretty inconspicuous most of the year. Green pearl-like buds appear at the end of July and by October this hardy shrub is in flower all over the the Reserve. The flower heads have recently turned brown and many are beginning to go to seed.
I happened upon this albino Wax-lip Orchid Glossodia major with two of its more common mauve relatives.
The albino orchid featured was a delight to behold on a sunny Walmer day.