Sunday, February 03, 2008

Central Coast Field Trip: Strickland State Forest

Strickland State Forest encompasses an extraordinarily diverse environment, ranging from dry sclerophyll forest, to heathland, to lush temperate rainforest, and is home to a range of endangered and rare plant species. MAP

Last year we visited the rainforest and I have never seen more leeches in my life (and that's including my front garden!) so while the interns and a few members of staff walked down to the creek, I lingered near the vehicles and took photos. Bob Makinson, one of my colleagues and the coordinator of the Centre for Plant Conservation at the Herbarium, is one of the world's foremost experts on the Grevillea genus. We have plans to collaborate on an ID CD, so he and I set forth in search of some specimens to photograph, specifically Grevillea linearifolia and Grevillea oldei. Bob has identified a possible subspecies of the former, and plans further investigation to see if a taxonomic change is warranted.

Here is the inflorescence:

Grevillea linearifolia flower 1

And some single flowers:

Grevillea linearifolia (single flower)

The Grevillea oldei flower is difficult to photograph in situ because of its habit (pun intended!) of hanging low to the ground. I took this image by lying with my chin on the dirt.

Grevillea oldei single flower

This shot required rather less in the way of contortionism:

Grevillea oldei inflorescence

Nothing at all to do with Grevillea is this gorgeous little fern that caught my eye, Schizaea bifida:

Schizaea bifida

What a honey. I'd love one in my garden. I really need to work on my fern propagation skills....

The interns emerge from the rainforest. Because we're lovely people, we'd driven the vehicles down to pick them up....

Strickland State Forest


Anonymous said...

Great shots and write up as always Margaret. I'm was pleased you gave a name for Schizaea bifida -- I've often seen this little fern and wondered what it was. It's pretty common in Berowra Valley, hopefully it becomes common near your garden too!


Margaret said...

Thanks, David. This weekend I'm going to set up a little system to propagate ferns in my bathroom (right climate, light level, temp. Okay, it might look a little odd...) starting with Dicksonia antarctica and Cyathea australis. If these succeed, I'll definitely be on the hunt for Schizaea bifida spores!