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Brilliant Botanists Blossom in Bush


Jeff Scott

Little Desert National Park VIC Bush Blitz | Oct 2018

Today is botany day with the amazing botany team from the National Herbarium of Victoria at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Val, Andre and Daniel were our hosts and guides for the wonderful world of plants.

We spent most of our day in the Morea State Forest. The team were incredible to watch. Walking briskly through the foliage they seemingly spotted species at will. Latin names were flying freely as their depth of knowledge was on display.

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The team worked very differently to the reptile team. No traps or sites set up, just pick a spot and start looking around. I asked later in the day how they chose where to stop. The simple answer was they looked at the dominant plant species they could see and judged what else might be there. They were always spot on.

They were also very generous with their time with us. Daniel shared his great passion for and knowledge of some of the mosses in the area. Andre took the time to show us exactly how the spider orchid tricks wasps into pollinating it. Val happily answered any questions that came his way. My most common question was 'what does it look like?'.

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Across the day we visited 6 different sites in Morea State Forest and a stop to find a 'one-of-a-kind' gum tree.

Here is a list of what I jotted down for the day:

Chocolate lily (it actually smells like chocolate!)

  • Spider orchid
  • Yellow gum
  • Stringy bark
  • River red gum
  • Mosses (lots of different types)
  • Woolly-heads daisy
  • Skink
  • Gum-leaf grasshopper
  • Sheoaks
  • Soap mallee (eucalyptus) The only one in Victoria!!

Another wonderful day in the field with gifted scientists. I will never look at plants in the same way again.