Monday, 1 August 2011

Wattle time

If you live on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp or drive through it, then you would have noticed the wattle trees are in bloom. I believe the species is the black wattle (acacia mearnsii). It grows anywhere, it is on the bank of the Main Drain from Iona to Koo-Wee-Rup and if you dig up any soil and leave it for a few weeks you will soon have black wattles growing. The trees are neat enough when they are young, but after a few years they get messy, branches break off and they begin to look a bit ugly.

The flowers are a pale yellow, not nearly as pretty as the Cootamundra wattle (acacia baileyana) or Australia's floral emblem, the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha Benth.) But from late July to the first few weeks of August the Black Wattle is glorious - they line the roads and the drain banks and you can look across the paddocks and see glimpses of yellow everywhere. It really is a magnificent sight.

Main Drain Road, looking west from the Eleven Mile Bridge at Cora Lynn.

The Main Drain, looking west, from the Eleven Mile Bridge at Cora Lynn.

You can also see other remnant Swamp vegetation, including the Swamp Paperbark (melaleuca ericifolia) . The photograph, above, was taken in Dessent Road at Vervale, but you can see this everywhere, including a stand near the sandpits in Thompson Road at Cranbourne and some along the Cardinia Creek, which you can see from the Pakenham by-pass. The picture (below) was taken, I believe, around Lang Lang in 1913. The plant can grow to ten metres high.



Another common plant are the reeds (phragmites australia), they grow everywhere on the Swamp, where there is a bit of water. This was taken also taken in Dessent Road. You can also see the reeds in the photograph, below. It is part of a series of post cards produced for Koo-wee-Rup in the late 1930s or early 194os. I think that's a blackwood wattle (acacia melanoxylon) behind the bridge.

William Wordsworth may well have been inspired by a host of golden daffodils, but to me there is nothing better that a host of golden wattles, brief though their time of glory may be, so here's another photograph, below, taken on the corner of Main Drain Road and Eleven Mile Road, Cora Lynn.

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