Today, we look at the native plants of Lake Burrumbeet, with the magnificent river red gums being most notable.
There are 150 or more along the south shore, and scattered specimens elsewhere. Many of these would be more than 200 years old, with some probably double that age, or even older. These are significant trees, worthy of protection and respect.
There are several dead specimens. Regeneration is occurring spasmodically, but the long-term survival of red gums at Lake Burrumbeet is by no means assured.
Less obvious among the 85 or more native plants are grasses, wildflowers and similar plants. Several important aquatic plants are also present.
A couple of native pelargoniums are of interest, especially the austral storksbill growing at high water mark in a few places. This plant is rather uncommon in the Ballarat district. The magenta storksbill is a showy small plant, flowering through much of summer when many wildflowers have finished.
Some of the basalt rocks shelter blanket fern, while the native small-leaf bramble also grows among basalt rocks in a couple of places. On the north side is inland pigface, a native succulent with bright magenta flowers. It is scarce at Burrumbeet.
More widespread, but hardly common, is the bronze bluebell, another summer-flowering plant. A colour contrast is the pink native bindweed.
Larger plants of special interest include drooping sheoak, wirilda and silver banksia, the latter in small numbers, although some have been re-introduced in the north-east corner.
A native nettle and a native milk thistle also occur, as well as a couple of interesting sedges — the plains sedge and the shiny bog sedge. There are several species of native grasses, including kangaroo grass, and several wallaby-grasses and spear-grasses.
Some of the more restricted remnant species could benefit from protection from trampling and from rabbits. Increased vehicle pressure is taking its toll in places, particularly on the south side.
A plan to ensure the regeneration or replanting of red gums at Lake Burrumbeet is desirable.
WASP A WINNER
A report from Ballarat North describes a duel between a European wasp and a honey bee.
After five minutes the wasp won the battle, eating the abdominal section of the bee before flying off with the remainder. The wasp was relatively small, perhaps advantaged by its higher tolerance to cooler temperatures.
Both species are busy making the most of any warmer weather before temperatures become unsuitable for flying.