Friday, October 2, 2009

Natural Wonders

Flowering Grass Trees, September 2009 Wilsons Promontory National Park

I've just returned from a family expedition to Wilsons Promontory - at the very southern most point of Victoria.  We stayed close by to Wilsons Promontory National Park and made a day outing to the park.

During last year's fires a large portion of the park was decimated by fire which started from lightning strike.

Like many things in life it is often when they are taken from us that we appreciate them all the more.  The most amazing regeneration is taking place in the park.  One of the most spectacular is the flowering of the grass trees.  This is most likely to take place after fire and while they send up there flowering spikes (usually brown) it is often only after fire that they flower prolifically.  And in fact in areas protected from fire they are unlikely to regenerate without these conditions (Ward & Lamont).

The beauty of the regenerating landscape is quite astounding.  In this area of the park from what I could tell the flora was primarily Coastal Banksias and Grass Trees.  The Banksias are shadows (however the fire has opened their seed pods and they will regenerate) with the Grass Trees taking centre stage with the magnificent background of the granitic peaks.  

Further on stands of eucalypts were regenerating in their rather magnificent fashion of shooting out from the trunks and larger branches making them look as if they were covered in creepers - I haven't a photo here as there is only so many times you can make the whole family stop while you take photos of your niche interest! However the Wilson's Promontory Parks website has photos of the regeneration which are very interesting.
At the Tidal River camping ground the main flora was stands of tea tree (immersed in water in swampy ground).  Aaah nature - you are the best designer of all.