Eye-catching in flower, the matted bush-pea is one of many plants with similar orange and yellow flowers. Its main difference is its ground-hugging habit.
Found mostly in open situations, it is often seen growing on roadside embankments and cuttings, making a very attractive show. Plants can grow to a metre or more across, but most are smaller.
Matted bush-pea is widespread in the Ballarat district, in bushland and undisturbed places both north and south of the Divide. This bush-pea belongs to the Pultenaea group. It is known to botanists as Pultenaea pedunculata.
Many of the native pea-plants are pollinated by native and introduced bees. The flowers require special manipulation before the insect gains access to the nectar. The insects need to be able to open the centre of the flower to get to the nectar that the flower offers both as an attractant and a reward for pollination. Small insects cannot exert the force needed to open and then pollinate the flower, leaving bees as the main pollinators.
It would be interesting to know whether the matted bush-pea has its own special ground-level pollinators, or whether it too is dependent on bees.
This Sunday, October 24, members of the community will be able to join experienced bird watchers from Birdlife Ballarat on a walk on the western side of Lake Wendouree. The walk commences at the cannons alongside Piper's restaurant at 9am.
The various waterbirds found at the lake will be pointed out during the walk, and illustrated brochures showing birds of the wider Ballarat district will be available on request.
Around 25 - 30 or more different sorts of birds can be expected. Possibilities include nankeen night-heron, grey teal, great crested grebe, swamp harrier and reed warbler. Some species are nesting.
Many people have been walking the lake in the last couple of years, taking an interest in the birds as they do so. Sunday's guided walk will result in increased knowledge and understanding of the lake's birds. Current Covid restrictions will apply. For more information, phone 0412 501 231.
This weekend is the end of a week-long "pop-up walk" showing wildflowers of the Woowookarung Regional Park at Canadian.
This year's walk is along the Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail, off Katy Ryan's Road at Canadian. It is signposted at Elsworth Street. A range of wildflowers is identified by temporary pictorial signs. These signs have been in position all week and will be removed on Sunday afternoon.
NATURE QUERIES ANSWERED
We would like to identify this moth, but we can't find any photos in books or online. Very distinctive black spots across their wings. Very fat bodies.
A fellow naturalist has helped to identify this as an angled Pinara moth, which is in the tussock moth family.
At first glance it resembles the wood moths or swift moths, but is smaller than most of them, with a wingspan of around 50 mm. The row of bicoloured spots on its wings is distinctive.
The antennae indicate it is a female. The black antennae and legs are other aids to identification. A male has ferny antennae and is darker in colour. Females vary in shade, with some of them much lighter, almost white.
The caterpillars feed on gumleaves. Its scientific name is Pinara obliqua, and it is found in south-eastern Australia. There are records from Scarsdale and Illabarook.
Questions and photos are welcome. Email to email@example.com, or send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353.