Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Finding the Green Birdflower

For those who are regular readers of my blog you will probably know that I love photographing wildflowers. I had a wonderful time photographing wildflowers, especially species I hadn't photographed before, during our recent six week trip up through the Western Australian Kimberley region.  I blogged about some of the Kimberley's amazing wildflowers here - The wildflowers are blooming

 Wildflower season starts in July in Western Australia's north (the time of our visit), and as we moved south through August the wildflowers were starting bloom through the Pilbara and Mid-West regions.  The heathlands of Lesueur National Park near Jurien in the Mid-West were ablaze with colour (but they will have to wait for another post). 

Today I want to tell you about an exciting find for me on our way south - the Green Birdflower - Crotalaria cunninghamii - listed as "uncommon" in my wildflower identification book, but as "not threatened" by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife Flora Base website. 

I had only seen the Green Birdflower once before, on a scraggly plant in a dry river bed between Mt Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges in the Pilbara in July 2014. I was keen to see one again. Below you can see the flowers and the pods.

 When we were in Broome on the west coast of the Kimberley during our recent trip, I told our friends who were visiting their friends in Broome, and had lived in the north-west themselves for many years, about my desire to find a birdflower. They told us a place in the sandhills of Broome where plants were often found, or had been found. However, despite tramping over these sandhills, we failed to find the elusive Green Birdflower. 

We had to leave Broome the next day and head for home, but I still hoped to find a Green Birdflower somewhere on our travels. From my reading I found that, it favours sandy soils, on and behind coastal sand dunes, and inland on loose sand in shrubland, grassland or Savannah woodland, and along drainage lines. It flowers from March to December, and despite being listed as  "uncommon" it is found over a wide area from Pardoo to Exmouth and Carnarvon, through the Pilbara and Kimberley, as you can see from this map downloaded from Flora Base from the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife. 

It also grows in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. Perhaps not so "uncommon" after all! 

Browse to the list of specimens for Crotalaria cunninghamii R.Br.

During our return south I was in luck.  How surprised do you think I was when I discovered the Green Birdflower in the sand dunes at Cape Keraudren Coastal Reserve, located in from Pardoo Roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and Broome. There they were, great bushes of them, not far from the beach. You can see the ocean in the background of this photo.  We had only visited Caper Keraudren once before, about 30 years ago, I wonder now if they were there then?

The Green Birdflower is a shrub 0.6-4 metres high with grey velvety stem. It is a member of the pea family and the flowers are yellow-green 20-50 mm long in a spike 50-250mm long and 50-70mm wide. The leaves are velvety, grey-green, and the seed pod is egg-shaped with a sharp point and contains about 20 seeds. It generates rapidly after fire and is pollinated by large bees and honeyeaters.

The Green Birdflower is a plant of the legume family Fabaceae.  It is named after early 19th century botanist Allan Cunningham who collected it in 1822 from Cygnet Bay north of Broome. The Bardi aboriginal name for this plant is oorlgoo, and the Yawuru call it minmin.

If you click on this link from Gardening Australia, you can see a little video about the birdflower. Gardening Australia

And if you go to 3.20 minutes on this video from SBS Adam Liaw's Destination Flavour Down Under you can see that you can actually eat part of the bird flower - bush tucker - amazing -  I didn't know that! episode-1-north-western-australia-cape-leveque
Aboriginal people also drank the nectar of the Green Birdflower and sucked water from it.  

Cape Keraudren is in the Shire of East Pilbara.  There are several camp-sites, but I recommend Sandy Beach campsite if you can find a spot. It has lovely views over the ocean. This is where we camped 30 years ago, and hoped to camp there again, but it was full with caravans, so we went around to Bossut Formation camp-ground. You can see a picture of it in the collage below. 

One thing I would recommend if you camp at Cape Keraudren is repellent against sand-flies, especially if you are going to sit and watch the sunset. There are veracious, probably because of the mangroves through this area, also seen in the collage below. I wonder if the kangaroos are bothered by them. The kangaroos didn't bother about us much.

A few more wildflowers from Cape Keraudren. Both of these are from the Mulla Mulla family. Tall Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus exaltatus, and the small button one is the Mat Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus axillaris

Cape Keraurden is 179 kms north of Port Hedland. Fees are payable at the Ranger's station on the way in. Please bring all supplies, including water, and take away your rubbish with you.  Information about Cape Keraudren can be found here - East-Pilbara-tourism/Cape-Keraudren.

Useful references:
Common Plants of the Kimberley - Department of Parks & Wildlife publication

Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia - Part 4 - Exmouth and the Pilbara by Eddy Wajon 

You might also like:
The flowers are blooming in the Kimberley
The wildflower hunter
Everlasting magic in WA's Mid-west
 Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the Green Birdflower. 

 I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard


  1. Hello Jill
    The Green Birdflower is a fascinating wildflower from blooms to large pods and the Mulla Mulla family has pretty flowers.

  2. Some very unusual plants grow there. I do not thinnk we have any of those here in Oregon.

  3. That is so cool! What a neat find.
    Thanks for sharing with https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/09/orchids-other-worldly.html.

  4. What lovely photos of the area, I am always intrigued by your awesome scenery. I'm so glad you found the flower you were looking for. It resembles our 'kowhai' trees that are abundant here in New Zealand except ours are bright yellow. I love seeing the Mulla Mulla and other wonderfully Aussie flowers!

  5. Hi Jill, so happy that you've been able to join me this week, I hope the gremlins have gone now! Sorry to be so tardy in visiting but we've been without internet here in rural Staffordshire until today.

  6. Greetings from Finland! I enjoyed reading about your find and also about your life - it sounds so exotic... ;)

  7. Beautiful images, Jill! Had never heard or seen about this green flower. Love how you approach your subject with the camera!

  8. I'm excited about our trip to Oz this Dec just reading your posts, about what we might see and find. Not my first trip, but first trip with the kiddies.

    1. December...ooo! hot! keep to the southern parts. Way to hot in northern and central Australia. But enjoy!

  9. I would love to get back to Australia and explore! I can only imagine the wonderful things I see!

  10. I'm so glad you found the Green Birdflower. I'm sure I saw these flowers on the coastline between Karratha and Port Hedland at a camping spot called Cleaverville. We didn't get sandflies here but were attacked by them just south of Karratha at 40 Mile Beach. We never went to Cape Keraudren and now that you have told me about the sandflies I'm glad we didn't! It took weeks and weeks for all my sandfly bites to settle down!


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.