Old Man’s Beard, Goatsbeard, Mountain Clematis, Austral Clematis and Traveller’s Joy are a few of the common names for Clematis aristata that I’ve come across. All seem pretty appropriate.
There are two significant climbers in Nangara Reserve, Old Man’s Beard and Wonga Vine. Clematis aristata is a common and widespread climber found in wet and dry forest situations and is an Australian endemic. The creamy-white star-shaped flowers are eye catching against the dull green-grey backdrop of eucalypt and other foliage.
At the end of flowering, the fertile flower-heads of the female plants produce the silver fluffy seed-heads that give rise to the ‘beard’ description of the plant, (arista is Latin for bristle), and this is when the plant really lights up the bush.
It isn’t hard to see the principle of seed distribution in this case. In fact just as I finished getting this next shot a breath of wind took these seeds and they floated off to fresh fields and pastures new!
The Hard Water-fern, (Blechnum wattsii), can be very abundant and vigorous in its growth. Hard Water-ferns mostly grow in the ground but sometimes can be found, like this one below, climbing the trunks of Soft Tree-ferns. Some references state it can grow in extensive colonies, others suggest its habit is more as an individual plant.
The new fronds of the Hard Water-fern are bronze coloured and the fertile pinnae are distinctly narrower. The bottom pair of pinnae are barely shorter than the rest and the stipes can have dark scales at their base.