Platylobium formosum

By Dangar Island Bushcare

Kiparra Reserve is a beautiful native bushland for all of us to spend time being at peace with nature or getting some exercise and fresh air. Our wonderful bushcare volunteers have come and gone over almost 30 years that we have been actively weeding out lantana, ochna and asparagus to name a few. Bruce Lambert can tell you stories of his first experience walking to his new block of land under a canopy of lantana back in the 70’s. Things have really changed for the better.

Nowadays our diverse flora has all the space, plus much of the road reserve, to flourish. We would love to see new faces join in our sessions in the bush, especially if you have your own bushland block of land that you want to learn more about.

We meet every second Saturday of the month,

9 am at the access track (149 R).

Next sessions are:

December 12th,

January 9th,

February 13th

and March 13th.

Call Cybele on ~ 7142 for more information about joining or just turn up in your gardening clothes and we’ll find you some tools to use.

As an introduction to some of the special plants we care for, we share with you a beautiful botanical drawing from one of our new members, Josephine, who has focused this month on a significant species to the Hornsby Shire, P. formosum.

Native Plant Profile by Josephine Bridge

‘Handsome Flat Pea’ - Platylobium formosum

This lovely small bush is indigenous to Dangar Island; look out for its rich yellow and red flowers when you’re next walking around Riverview Avenue or up in the Reserve. Its main flowering season is from September to November, but plants often have a sprinkling of flowers throughout the year.

The Handsome Flat Pea has a broad native range along the east coast of Australia, from New South Wales up to southern Queensland. It can reach 1.5m tall, but bushes on the Island are generally 1m or less, either growing upright or with a more straggling habit along the ground.

The flowers’ nectar attracts native bees, wasps and butterflies - however, pea flowers such as these are mostly self-pollinating. Once fertilised, the petals drop off and the characteristic seed pod emerges - oblong, very flat, and an attractive green/pink colour (hence its scientific name, from the Greek platys meaning ‘flat/broad’, lobus meaning ‘pod’ and from the Latin formosus meaning ‘beautiful.’)

The seed pod hardens and turns brown as it matures, each half flicking outwards to disperse the seeds. A good way to identify Platylobium formosum is by its empty seed pods, which somewhat resemble pairs of shiny hanging cinnamon sticks.