The first flowers emerge along Mt Gambier Rail Trail

The Mt Gambier Rail Trail project is progressing well with a variety of small herbs, grasses, and shrubs seen flowering recently after only being planted in August last year. Over 1300 locally native seedlings are establishing well along a 250-metre section of the trail with help from school students and community members.

Now 2020 is behind us, during a hand weeding visit in February 2021 we can happily report not only flowering observed but also a high percentage of seedling survivorship. Weeding and watering have occurred at various times since planting with help from community members (refer to previous post) to keep an eye on the site, address any issues/weeds emerging and maintain a high moisture level in the soil for the seedlings to establish.

We are proud at this early stage of the project to showcase a few of the plant species (and flower colours) with some information about their benefits to the local wildlife.

Pink – Australian Trefoil or Lotus australis (Fabaceae) is a fabulous small herb with pink pea like flowers. This plant is a known food plant to butterflies like Pea Blue and Common Grass Blue.

Yellow Hop Goodenia or Goodenia ovata (Goodeniacea) is a known for its fast growing nature and low maintenance. This plant offers a flush of yellow flowers and may attract Meadow Argus butterflies to lay eggs and breed on site.

Blue-Purple – New Holland Daisy or Vittadinia (in the Asteracea family) has a small purple/pink flower and is known to be a prolific seeder (see photo). Fingers crossed they will establish throughout other parts of the Rail Trail as the wind disperses the seed.

White or cream – Cudweed, native daisy or Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum (Asteraceae) is a food source for a variety of insects (and their larvae) especially moths and butterflies. This species shown here is actually a caterpillar of a butterfly and will emerge as the Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi).

This project is supported by the City of Mt Gambier Council, Limestone Coast Rail Trail Sub-committee and Tenison Woods College.

Bryan Haywood