Wildflowers, Photos and … and Everlastings or Paper Daisies

Submitted: Friday, Dec 03, 2010 at 22:27
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One of the most breathtaking floral sights to be seen on our travels is a vast Image Could Not Be Foundpink, yellow or brilliant white carpet spread out between mulga trees or across sand dunes. It will happen in spring in WA and after good rain in the desert. It is a carpet of everlastings or paper daisies.

Everlastings or Paper Daisies are members of the Daisy Family (family Asteraceae). The daisy family is one of the largest plant families and daisies are found on all continents. There are about 1,000 species of daisy found throughout Australia. Not all of these are everlastings, as, while most everlastings are daisies, not all daisies are everlastings.

A few members of the daisy family are woody shrubs but most are herbaceous plants that complete their life cycle within a year. This is particularly true of desert everlastings which grow quickly after rain to complete their life cycle and set seed before dry conditions return.

The “flower” of a daisy is really a head or cluster of densely packed tiny individual flowers or florets.Image Could Not Be Found In everlastings such as Helipterum or Helichrysum the central tiny flowers or florets are surrounded by coloured papery bracts. The innermost of these bracts look like petals, creating the impression that the whole head structure looks like a single flower. In Cephalipterum there are a large number of separate heads each with long papery bracts crowded together resulting in a pom-pom like structure.

Everlastings in WA and inland parts of other states are found mainly throughout mulga country. In a good season they carpet the ground after rain with masses of bright white, yellow and pink flowers. Image Could Not Be FoundSometimes the different colours occur on their own, at other times they are mixed together. Often many other small flowering plants including other daisies and ground orchids are found growing with the everlastings.

There are everlastings in the eastern states, in a range of different environments including seaside and alpine areas. Although colourful and showy, they seldom produce the spectacular massed carpets of flowers that are seen in WA.

Some of the more common everlastings include:
Pom Poms (Cephalipterum drummondii). These can be seen in WA eg around Mullewa and the Coalseam Park. They have yellow or white bracts making a pom-pom head.

Straw flower or Paper daisy Image Could Not Be Found(Helichrysum bracteatum) are found in all states. They can be white or yellow, but have become popular in cultivation where colours also range through dark red, pink and orange tones.

Everlasting Sunray (Helipterum sp.) is white or yellow and found in all states. H. albicans occurs in alpine areas.

Rosy everlasting, Image Could Not Be Found(Rhodanthe chlorocephala ) has deep pink flowers with a yellow or black centre. It is another WA beauty, as is Mangle's everlasting or silver bells, (Rhodanthe manglesii) with pink or white nodding bell-like flowers.Image Could Not Be Found

Showy everlasting, (Schoenia filifolia) has vivid yellow paper daisies and it too is native to Western Australia.

Poached egg daisies (Myriocephalus stuartii) are found in drier parts of Qld, NSW, Vic, SA, NT in mulga woodlands or on sand dunes where after good rain they cover huge areas with their yellow and white flowers above silvery grey/green leaves. Image Could Not Be FoundThese are desert ephemerals, plants that spring up in drier areas after rain, quickly reaching up to half a metre in height.

Everlastings need insects to pollinate them so insects including butterflies and beetles (and their caterpillars) are often seen feeding and resting on and around these daisies.

Many daisies have had their scientific names changed in recent years so I hope I have the names more or less correct, and apologies in advance for any errors.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 00:37

Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 00:37
Awesome stuff Val.
regards
Fred B
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Reply By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 00:46

Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 00:46
Hi J & V

Only one comment really....WOW...BEAUTIFUL.

Thanks for sharing

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 09:00

Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 09:00
Hi Val
Another great post, keep them coming. Here are a few pictures from various desert locations.

Well Done.

Cheers

Stephen

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