Western Australia boasts up to 12,000 known species and the Western Australian wildflower season spreads over several months starting from July in the north’s Kimberley region till November in the south. Walking through the bush during spring you will see the browns and greens of the bush erupt in a dazzling display of vibrant colour. Everlasting magic
|One of the Australian wattles - genus Acacia|
You don't need to go far, even a small bush block in suburbia can reveal hidden treasures in spring. Photographing wildflowers
In July we discovered the magic of the Kimberley wildflowers - oh the brilliance of those reds, yellows and oranges against those vast Kimberley blue skys and red earth. I blogged about them here - The wildflowers are blooming in the Kimberley
As we travelled south during August the changing variety of wildflowers followed us. I was hard pressed to not keep saying "stop the car", as I know that walking only a few metres into this wonderland of flowers would reveal hidden treasures I couldn't see from the highway. But I also knew that my travelling companions didn't want to always be "stopping the car".... so sometimes I had to be content with "drive-by shots".
These yellows and whites are yellow and white everlastings. The whites looked like snow across the ground spreading as far as you could see through the scrub.
We did however decide to extend our trip by another day and night just so that I could visit Lesueur National Park.
Named after Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, a natural history artist aboard the French ship Naturaliste during its 1801 expedition, Lesueur National Park covers 26,987 hectares and has a wide range of geological formations, landscapes and soil types. It is a biodiversity hotspot boasting an exceptionally diverse range of flora, with more than 900 species, comprising 10 per cent of the state's known flora, including seven species of declared rare flora, making it an important reserve for flora conservation. Much of Lesueur is covered by low heath, known as Kwongan by Aboriginal people - low scrub that a man can see over.
We approached Lesueur from the north via the Coorow-Greenhead Road east off the Indian Ocean Drive just north of Greenhead, and then turning south onto Cockleshell Gully Road, or you can approach it from the south via Jurien and the Jurien East Road. The first part of our drive took us along a ridgeline with view of the coast and the Indian Ocean to the west.
From here you turn onto a 18.5 kilometre one-way bitumen road which takes you through the park. There are regular pull-over places where you can park and enjoy the scenery and take photos. The one-way road make these pull-overs very convenient as you don't have to worry about oncoming traffic.
Please note there is a $12 day entry vehicle pass payable by self-registration at the entrance or you can pre-purchase a 12 month WA Parks pass.
About a third of the way along the trail you will come to a day-use area where there is a 400 metre return wheelchair-friendly bitumen path where those less able can enjoy the wildflowers. You can also learn more about Lesueur on the information boards.
From here you can follow the 2.5km Gardner circuit trail or the more challenging 4km Mt Lesueur walk trail to the summit of Mt Lesueur. Please allow approximately half a day to complete this moderate, at times challenging, walk which requires a good degree of fitness. Bring your own food, water, sun cream, wear a hat, good walking boots and take away your rubbish.
Please make sure you help prevent Dieback (Phytophthora spp.), which can be spread through the transfer of infected soil on your boots, by cleaning your boots at the boot cleaning station.
Even if you decide you don't want to tackle the Mt Lesueur walk there will be plenty to see especially during wildflower time. Below you will see just a small selection.
Please note: I am not a botanist so I can't accurately name these flowers, but I will do my best. Some of them I will just give a family name, whereas others where I have given a botanic name I am fairly sure of their identification.
Banksias.... clockwise - Firewood Banksia (Banksia menziesii), either the Hooker's or Acorn Banksia, Violet Banksia (Banksia violacea)
Blue Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia biloba), Free-flowering Leschenaultia (Lechanaultia floribunda), Catspaw, and Mangles Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)
Reds - left to right from top left - Fringed Bell (Darwinia neildiana), Pink Poker, Grevillea, Bottlebrush, Clawflower, Cockies Tongues (Templetonia retusa), Scarlet Runner or Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata), Murchison Darwinia (Darwinia virescens), and Scarlet Featherflower (Verticordia grandis).
Pinks and purples - Hovea, Purple Tassels (Sowerbaea laxiflora), Blue Tinsel Lily (Calectasia cyanea), Veined Hakea (Hakea neurophylla), Coneflower, Myrtle, Pepper and Salt, Pipe Lilly, Starflower.
Creamy whites - I can't identify the first and last one on the top line, but the middle one is Smokebush, I think the first one on the second line is a Coneflower, White plume Grevillea (Grevillea leucopteris), Clematis, Hakea, Long-Eared Petrophile, Ribbed Hakea
I love the way that Clematis drapes over the bushes.
Petrophile, Dryandra, unknown (bottom left) and Banjine.
Yellows - Horned Poison Bush (Gastrolobium polystachyum), Chittick, Catspaw, Wattle, Cottonheads, Hibbertia, Pea family, Spiny Synaphea (Synaphea spinulosa), Tailflower.
And maybe even orchids hiding in the undergrowth
And this one below which I promised last week to identify? This is Murchison Darwinia (Darwinea virescens), listed as uncommon in my Wildflower identification book, although as not threatened on DEPAW-Florabase. Grows in white or yellow sand in heathlands, August to December or January. Kalbarri to Northampton and Murchison. A prostrate shrub, 0.05-0.3 m high, Round red to pink flowers 25-40mm across.
It is truly magical when I find a wildflower I have never seen before.
|Murchison Darwinia (Darwinea virescens)|
|Jewel beetle on Dryandra at Lesueur National Park|
down into Cockleshell Gully. The first few hundred metres of the walk trail is wheelchair accessible.
From Lesueur it is only about 30 kilometres to Jurien. We chose to camp just north of Jurien at Sandy Cape (but that will be in another post).
Lesueur National Park is approximately 30 kilometres from Jurien Bay, a three hour drive north of Perth, Western Australia.
For more information:
Jurien Bay Tourism - Visit Jurien Bay
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