Posted by: Paul Sheringhams blog: a place of running dreams come true | November 4, 2013

Dandahra Crags

Dandahra Crags. Yesterday I drove up to the Gibraltar Range again to photograph wildflowers. The sky was heavy with smoke and cloud. I read the Daily Examiner at a Service station where I ate a hamburger. I felt a bit sad to learn that Jacaranda fun run was on Sunday and I won’t be running in it.

I went looking for the Waratah Trig walking track but couldn’t find it. I drove up and down the highway looking for it. I stopped the car and photographed some Gibraltar Smoke Bush (Conospermum burgessiorum)  and Kunzea bracteolata   I met a couple of people who were also driving around looking for plants. They told me the Waratah Trig track was no longer sign posted. They showed me a specimen of Hibbertia rynchocalyx they wanted to know what it was. The start of the track was a quarry.


Gibraltar Smoke Bush

So I gave up on Waratah Trig and drove to the start of the Dandahra walking track. There was lots of Leptospermumum arachnoides flowering in the wet heath. This species is called Prickly Tea-tree its leaves are sharp tipped. The flowers are large and white and have red sepals. Bees loved the flowers and were buzzing around as I took photos. There was another Tea Tree in flower I keyed it out later to Leptospermum  minutifolium. Its flowers and leaves are very small. There was also some Bacon and Egg Pea (Dillwynia phylicoides).


Leptospermum arachnoides

I didn’t take the detour up to Dandanhra Crags but instead kept walking the loop. Dandahra Crags is a big pile of granite tors piled up on top of each other. From the top there are wonderful views across to Old Man’s Hat and the Mann RIver Wilderness. I photographed a Drumstick (Isopogon petiolaris). There was also a restricted species of Mint Bush (Prostanthera saxicola var. major). Part of the loop track was closed. I saw a sign for Cardinals Cap and a cluster of tors near the track. All the Granite outcroppings are named after objects that the rocks are meant to resemble.


Prostanthera phyllicoides


Isopogon petiolaris

In the swampy country I was pleased to spot some Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. stenomera in flower. There was also the yellow flowers of Callistemon pityoides, which was just finished flowering. It’s leaved are much smaller than the other yellow flowered Bottlebrush (Callistemon pallidus). I took photographs of other species in flower and fruit. Zieria smithii, Gompholobium latifolium, Hakea laevipes subsp, graniticola, Persoonia rufa. The sun drained form the sky, the gold of the wet heaths was covered slowly in dark shadow and a there was a coolness descended into the clear air. I saw a spotted Sun Orchid, but its flowers had closed up for the day. The flowers only open up in the full sun. I returned to my car at about 7:50pm and began the drive back to Coffs Harbour.

I enjoyed my day in the bush, my idea to write a book on the flora of this park, inspires me and makes sense. There are people who love plants just like me, and they’d love a guide to help tell them what the plants they were seeing are. This brings me joy, it is a solitary but peaceful activity. I feel a bit sad that I didn’t go in the Jacaranda Fun Run. I am relieved I didn’t go. Yesterday I felt no stress taking photos of wildflowers, and no fear, just an excitement and freedom of thought. Again I felt lucky to be alive and able to see the things I do.


Grevillea acanthifolia


Callistemon pityoides

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