Confessions of a Nuytsia floribunda spotting addict
Before starting with Earthwatch in February 2010 I have to admit I was not an expert on WA biodiversity and I am not an expert now. With the assistance of the WA Science Advisory Panel we selected an extra 25 species to add to the ClimateWatch system. During this process one species was consistently recommended by everyone I spoke to: The WA Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda).
The WA Christmas Tree is a great example of what we are looking for with ClimateWatch. The plant flowers between October to January, it's iconic, easy to recognise and has a spectacular flowering event. Having floribunda in the scientific name is very appropriate because the Latin origin floribundus means profusely flowering.
To assemble the PocketGuide for Piney Lakes Reserve I contacted William Archer in Esperance who has a fantastic blog on the local species in the region and asked permission to use his photos. You can see more of his photos on the species page.
Since the middle of October, when we ran our first training session for volunteers at Piney Lakes Reserve and I saw the first one flowering I have become hooked on spotting this plant. The brilliant orange-yellow flowers explode like fireworks from a sea of green foliage.
I travel around Perth regularly to meet with various stakeholders and every time I am out I discover a new site where the WA Christmas Tree is flowering. Along the freeway, near Curtin and Murdoch universities. You don't have to venture far from roadsides to see this iconic mistletoe. Although with flowering starting in October, it seems a little early to call this a Christmas Tree.
By Rich Weatherill
ClimateWatch WA Program Manager
Now is a great time to see the WA Christmas Tree flowering. So check out the species page, keep your eyes peeled and record your observations.
Do you have a species you love recording? Contact us and we will publish your story.