jarrah trees in flower

Jarrah trees are flowering now throughout Perth, the Hills and into the South-West as far south as Bremer Bay. These majestic trees can grow more than 400 years and cloak themselves in cream blossom every spring.

jarrah flowers at Lake Gwelup

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Perth’s flooded gum

the boardwalk at Lake Gwelup wends through Eucalyptus rudis

The flooded gum (Eucalyptus rudis) is Perth’s river gum, growing along our rivers, lakes and water courses. Its range extends north to Geraldton and into the south-west of WA. These beautiful trees surround Lake Gwelup and as the water level ebbs and flows, they often stand in water in winter and spring. With this inundation from winter rains they flower and this month the first flowers are starting to open.

bud caps of Eucalyptus rudis with first flowers of the season

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what plant is that? limestone mallee

magpie in Eucalyptus petrensis

I recently identified limestone mallee (Eucalyptus petrensis) growing in a bushland reserve near my house. It took me a while to identify, but I’m not alone there. Limestone mallee was first collected in 1972 but not named until 1993 because it was confused with limestone marlock (Eucalyptus decipiens) [1]. Eucalyptus petrensis grows in shallow soil on limestone, so is found in a “limited coastal distribution on the first and second seaward limestone outcrops” [2]. The strip of bush where I found limestone mallee is very degraded but has been planted in the past. I’m not sure if these trees are original or part of a revegetation project. A stand of naturally occurring limestone mallee grows at Bold Park.

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the case of the camouflage caterpillar

leaf case moth crawling along a branch of the illyarrie gum tree

On the weekend I found a leaf case moth caterpillar (Hyalarcta huebneri) attached to a lawn chair next to a gum tree in my garden. I put it back on the illyarrie gum tree (Eucalyptus erythrocorys) so it could feed. Case moths are amazing insects and like to get creative with their camouflage. The caterpillars build a silken cocoon and attach bits of leaf or twigs from the food tree for protection. When disturbed they withdraw inside and pull the opening shut [1] as this one did. You can see threads of silk on the left where it was attached to the lawn chair.

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