Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Weedy Walk

A nearby walk that I like to do some days is between the golf course and the freeway. It is just a roadside reserve really but often throws up an interesting sighting or two.  A pair of Leaden Flycatchers has a nest in some of the eucs but they have remained too high for a picture so far.

The path in one section is lined with several of the best examples of Swordgrass I have seen and right now many of the flower tufts are loaded with blooms. Swordgrass, (Gahnia sp), is under threat in many places, being removed for urbanization and land clearing for farming.

Swordgrass Sedge - a valuable habitat plant.
Swordgrass sedge is the host plant of the Swordgrass Brown Butterfly and I have observed the Common Brown Butterfly visiting the plant too.

Common Brown Butterfly - Heteronympha merope.

Swordgrass Brown Butterrfly - Tisiphone albifascia.
The small birds will often sun themselves early in the mornings, often right beside the path and I’m certain a Superb Fairy-wren family have a nesting site very well concealed in some Bracken nearby.
A morning preen - Grey fantail, (not often so still).
Welcoming the day - Superb Fairy-wren.
I was about to explore a bit for the wren nest until I spotted these Buffalo Burrs Bidgee-widgees, (thanks Craig), in the grass. Supposedly just a walking exercise I was only clad in shorts, socks and sneakers and so discretion is the better part of valour and maybe the wren nest can wait for a day when I’m more appropriately attired!
Another plant nearby, also often much maligned, is the Kangaroo Apple with fruit nicely ripening. Some sources class this shrub as an environmental weed. Other sources sell the seed. Probably the best description I read was from a 1996 text I have, ‘A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia’, (Lamp & Collet).
Kangaroo Apple fruit.

‘One man’s weed is another man’s wildflower’ – Susan Wittig Albert.
‘Make no mistake: The weeds will win; Nature bats last’ – Robert M Pyle.
‘Weeds are flowers too once you get to know them’ – A A Milne.

I could go on.


  1. I'm sure the Kangaroo Apples provide food for birds - class them as a vegetable!

  2. HW,
    Sometimes called the 'bush tomato' but then a tomato is a fruit? Also, pretty toxic too - 'The leaves and unripe fruit of S. aviculare contain the toxic alkaloid solasodine. S.aviculare is cultivated in Russia and Hungary for the solasidine which is extracted and used as a base material for the production of steroid contraceptives.' Aborigines used the VERY ripe fruit as bush food apparently.

    1. Once it's gone completely orange the fruit makes a good barbecue sauce, cooking them means you can let them get a bit over ripe too which is probably for the best. I've planted a few in some difficult spots in the garden for that purpose, there are a few in the national park across the road so hopefully they'll do well.

  3. I'm not a 100% sure as I can't see the leaves in the photo but I think the Buffalo Burr could in fact be the native Acaena species (Bidgee Widgee).
    As for the Kangaroo Apple I often love eating these fruits when they turn over ripe. Some people cant stand them but I think they're delicious (taste a bit like Gooseberry).
    Great pics mate.

  4. G’day Craig,
    Thanks for the heads up on the Bidgee-widgee. I think I got sucked in by the size. A closer on site inspection confirms it.
    Dunno, I might leave the Kangaroo Apple consumption to you and PB!?