Last weekend, I sought out blossoms at two of my favourite places from the past year, Dawn Road Reserve at Albany Creek, and Bribie Island National Park at Woorim.
Dawn Road patron Trina McLellan has written a wonderful account of what we found together at Albany Creek on Saturday, that you can read here.
Sunday's Bribie adventure was a solo occasion, however, and I spent most of the morning in the wallum heath beyond McMahon Street, protected as part of the island's National Park.
Walking a few kilometres down the gravel road, I came to a small sandy track branching off to the east that I had been wanting to explore better for quite some time.
The first flowering shrub I came across was the wallum hakea (Hakea actites).
|Wallum hakea, Woorim.|
Its flowers are tiny and delicate, and it is more easily noticed by the large, warty seed pods that proliferate amongst its branches.
Rising up out the dense groundcover flora were the white star flowers of the sprengelia (Sprengelia sprengelioides).
Along this track, the sand is as pure and white as fresh snow, creating an environment that is beautiful to look at, but harsh for the plants to grow in.
|Broad-leaved paperbark, Woorim.|
|Wallum banksia, Woorim.|
Because the latter is such an iconic tree for this environment, it has lent its name to the entire habitat.
|Wedding bush, Woorim.|
At this time of year, this three-metre tall shrub is covered in a dense layer of gorgeous, cartoon-like flowers that stand out from a long distance away.
|Wallum phebalium, Woorim.|
|Wallum geebung, Woorim.|
Up close, the blooms of this open shrub reminded me of a peeling banana.
At the time, I thought I was dealing with just the one species, the showy parrot pea (Dillwynia floribunda) shown below.
|Showy parrot pea, Woorim.|
Closer examination of my photos, however, revealed that a very similar plant was growing at this location also, the heathy parrot pea (D. retorta).
The two can be told apart by the angle from which the leaves grow out of the stem; the showy parrot pea has leaves that lay almost flat against the stem, whereas those of the latter plant grow at a right angle.
|Wallum zieria, Woorim.|
It was quite different to the other white-flowered shrubs I had previously seen; its flowers have only four petals, not five, and the leaves are arranged in a trifoliate pattern.
Wallum habitat is becoming increasingly rare as the demand for coastal development intensifies.
It is a vegetation type that is unique to South-east Queensland and Northern New South Wales, so it is upsetting to see more of it disappear each year.
If you find yourself on one of the coastal sand islands, or somewhere near Noosa, the Mooloolah River, Southport or the Coolangatta Airport, keep an eye out for it.
From a distance, it may seem like just a flat, shrubby grassland, but a closer look will reveal its remarkable beauty.