There is an amazing variety of bushland wildflower plants to be found in the Sydney district. It’s considered to be one of the great wildflower regions of Australia.
Wolli Creek Regional Park (WCRP)’s Hawkesbury sandstone bushland contains many of the beautiful, enduring wildflower species characteristic of greater Sydney’s sandstone bushland areas.
DIVERSITY OF SPECIES
Many people may be familiar with the wildflowers of Sydney’s iconic Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and Kuring-gai National Park to the north. Banksias, Grevilleas, Waratahs, Hakeas, Wattles, various ‘Pea’ plants, Paperbarks and Tea trees, and lots more may come to mind.
Many of these very same species of spectacular flowering plants occur surprisingly close to the inner city, in the WCRP bushland. More than 360 species of native plants have been recorded. This includes all those mentioned above, minus Waratahs. We no longer have Waratahs growing in the Valley’s bushland, but historical evidence suggests that this was the case up until early in the 20th century. Other species may also have been lost over time as the Valley’s land was farmed and otherwise used for human activities.
As is common with Sydney sandstone bushland, much of the diversity of its wildflower species occurs at the shrub layer – tall, medium and small shrubs. This is in contrast to Sydney’s shale-based clay soil bushland of the Cumberland Plain, across Western Sydney. Here, the greatest diversity of wildflowers is found at the ground layer, via often small, sometimes quite delicate herbaceous plants, as well as many native grasses.
While the numerous flowering shrubs of various sizes may be the ones that catch our eye in the Valley’s bushland, there are also vines that delight with their floral display. Not to be overlooked too, are the creamy-white flowers of Eucalyptus, Angophora and Syncarpia (Turpentine) tree species that periodically flower en masse throughout their canopies.
There is often something to be found in flower throughout the year. August – September is a particularly good time to find many plants in flower.
Wildflowers are not just enjoyable to look at and identify. They are also a vital resource when in flower and later, in seed, for birds, insects and some mammals. For more information on this aspect of flowers and seeds see Wildlife Habitat Plants of the Wolli Valley.
MORE INFORMATION AND OTHER RESOURCES
Missing Jigsaw Pieces: The Bushplants of the Cooks River Valley (a hard copy may be still available via WCPS – email email@example.com)
Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney – Les Robinson.
Native Plants of the Sydney Region – Alan Fairley and Philip Moore
The Inner West Council Community Nursery at Addison Rd Marrickville sells tubestock of some of the species of native plants found in the Wolli Creek Valley. Many have been propagated from seed or cuttings collected under licence from within the WCRP. (Planting such local tubestock species in your garden is a good way to be ‘bush friendly’.)