Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley Plant Study Group in the Wolgan Valley  (Meredith Brownhill)

Plant Study Group - 2019

about us  -   2019  -   2018  -   2017  -   2016  -   2015
13 January 2019
McMahons Lookout, Wentworth Falls - led by Jo Newman - 13 present
The 20 km drive along Kings Tableland Road gave us a great introduction to a varied and interesting 800 metre walk at the end of the road. It proved to be a comfortable temperature and the shady track covered two main plant groups - Tall Wet Forest and Woodland Ridge.

We were rewarded with magnificent views of Lake Burragorang and Coxs River with surrounding slopes of the beautiful Blue Mountains. The bush was refreshed by recent rains and plant sightings included Eucalyptus agglomerata, Eustrephus latifolius, Acacia elata and Rupicola sprengelioides (specific to McMahons Lookout) to name just a few.

10 February 2019
Fairy Dell Reserve, Springwood – led by Susan Jalaluddin – 7 present
On a fine, cool morning 7 members met at Fairy Dell Reserve, Springwood to do a repeat survey of the silt plug. The first survey was done in July 2017 in the dead of winter by a group of citizen science volunteers and these data were passed on to the Blue Mountains City Council and the Fairy Dell Bushcare Group.

This latest survey was done in summer to ascertain any differences. The number of species found growing both in winter and summer was 45. From the winter survey, 23 species were seen and from the summer survey 37 species.

From the summer survey 10 new species were seen. There were what appeared to be some discrepancies but some of the reasons are:

Those present had a wonderful time identifying and recording. We now have a slightly larger database to pass on to BMCC and the Bushcare Group and it will be interesting to do further surveys for comparison.

24 February 2019
Maiyingu Marragu Reserve, near Lidsdale – bus trip led by Meredith Brownhill – 10 present
Our first bus trip for the year, with ten members, was a relaxed field trip to a Wiradjuri Reserve at Lidsdale. This reserve was declared an Aboriginal Place in 2008.

After looking at stencils in ochre on the cave walls and reflecting upon the traditional owners’ way of life many years ago we immersed ourselves in eucalypt ID. Eucalyptus cannonii was new to us; it is a listed vulnerable species. We found a lovely population of Eucalyptus rossii growing on a rock platform along with Cassinia arcuata which is spectacular to look at, however is a native plant classed as Noxious, Class 4.

The biggest ID challenge was of four Asteraceae species, which were all in flower – so helpful of them! On the way home we stopped to enjoy views into the wonderful Wolgan Valley.

10 March 2019
Radiata Plateau, Katoomba (Carpark to the Northern Dam) – led by Ray Stanford – 9 present
This part of the sandstone plateau is dominated by Eucalyptus sieberi and Eucalyptus piperita, especially on the higher section which also supports an understory of Hakea, Leptospermum, Acacia and various herb species.

The lower section is an abrupt change including a creek which enters a man-made dam. This lower section includes Eucalyptus mannifera subsp. gullickii and many changes, for example, Grevillea laurina to Grevillea acanthifolia and Leptospermum trinervium to Leptospermum grandifolium, while the damp soil above the dam supports many species such as Gahnia sieberiana, Lepidosperma sp. and Drosera spatulata.

This 1 km track has a huge variety of plant species within two main communities.

14 April 2019
Martins Lookout, Springwood – led by Helen Yoxall – 6 present
The eucalypt woodland along the fire trail from the end of Farm Road, Springwood to Martins Lookout is part of the Glenbrook Creek catchment. We began by spending time observing the general structure and the dominant tree species of the vegetation community - Eucalyptus punctata, E. globoidea, Corymbia gummifera, Syncarpia glomulifera and Allocasuarina littoralis. Jess showed us the online resource SCIVI (Southeast NSW Native Vegetation Classification and Mapping), available through the SEED Portal, which indicated that the vegetation type predicted to occur where we were walking was Sydney Hinterland Transition Woodland.

On this mild autumn day sitting at the Lookout for morning tea, looking across at the Lost World, we heard the call of honeyeaters on their annual migration and were lucky enough to glimpse the brilliant red of a Mistletoe Bird.

12 May 2019
Popes Glen Reserve, Blackheath – led by Don Cameron – 11 present
The day started with Paul Vale of the Popes Glen Bushcare Group (PGBG) providing an overview of the Popes Glen Rehabilitation Project, setting the context for the vegetation survey we were about to do.

The survey site was about a hectare of remnant eucalypt woodland bounded by built-up areas, woodland that is being regenerated, and a silt flat. There had been substantial degradation of the survey site historically, but the ecological status of it is now quite high. For example, only 8 of the 80 plant species we recorded are weeds, and the abundance of them is very low.

Three decades of inspirational work by the PGBG has enhanced the importance in the landscape of the site we surveyed. It now is an integral part of a regenerating landscape instead of being a fragment of degrading bush. Surveying the site was an ideal activity for the Plant Study Group – not to mention being enjoyable.

14 July 2019
Scheyville National Park - bus trip led by Meredith Brownhill – 14 present
Scheyville NP is a complete contrast to our familiar Blue Mountains’ Parks. Fourteen members had a fascinating day learning about regeneration strategies from the NPWS Bush Regen co-ordinator and Ranger. Given the areas of grassland and old pasture within the NP, it was most encouraging to learn of the positive outcomes achieved and of the regeneration of regrowth native woodlands.

Cumberland Plain Woodland is a Critically Endangered Ecological Community on shale under the BCA and EPBC Act. Scheyville NP is known to be one of the best sites of remnant CP Woodland.

The Eucalyptus moluccana woodlands were new to us and a range of Cumberland Plain low shrubs, herbaceous plants and grasses were of interest. We walked on the Scribbly Gum path and identified the Scribbly Gum as Eucalyptus racemosa ssp. racemosa. Dillwynia tenuifolia a listed Vulnerable Threatened Species is present.

The last stop was at the Lagoon, which had some water in it after recent rains. The dominant species here is Casuarina glauca which forms the Coastal Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca) Forest of NSW Endangered Ecological Community.