Where did you pop up from?

For the past decade I have been scouring our block looking for new things to find. I think I’ve found most of the ‘big things’, so then I look for smaller and smaller things—hence recent blogs on tiny springtails and fungi.

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Ploughshare Wattle (Acacia gunnii)

Sometimes though, nature throws up a surprise. Last week I found not one but four Ploughshare Wattles (Acacia gunnii) all huddled close together. This wattle is known in the district though is not very common. The plants were in a location that I often walk past and if they had not been flowering I would not have noticed them.

Up on the roadside another not so common wattle is also now conspicuous by its flowering. Snake Wattle (Acacia aculeatissima) is a prostrate form of wattle. Before this year, I had only known of one plant in the roadside reserve. So far this year I have located six of them.

Snake Wattle (Acacia aculeatissima)

Snake Wattle (Acacia aculeatissima)

Up on our hill, both plants are prostrate bushes that seldom get higher than half a metre. They both fix nitrogen in the soil. Given the lack of soil on our property, there must be a whole lot of nitrogen looking around for a place to live.

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Spewin’

DSCN8727Walking down our driveway I observed something on the ground that looked like it had been left by a wallaby after a big night out (see picture left). After flicking through the books, I decided it looks like a slime mould.

Slime moulds fit into neither flora nor fungi categories. They have characteristics of both animals and fungi and exist as single-celled DSCN9301organisms that feed on other microorganisms living in dead plant material and fungi. However in times of stress, if the food supply is scarce or if the temperature is unsuitable, slime mould organisms cluster together to form a larger, visible ‘blob’. This mass can then move towards light or hunt for food. Slime moulds reproduce by producing spores. When mature, the spores are dispersed and new ‘amoebae’ are formed.

Along our road recently I noticed this orange slime mould (pictured right).

I have a great idea to use these to produce a B-grade horror movie. It will obviously have to be done in Technicolor. (Yawn.)