By Lachlan Turner
On a recent visit to the Annangrove Community Environment Centre, I decided to take a walk through the bushland near the Centre.
Whilst walking along their Wildflower Walk I came across a small spreading shrub which can sometimes grow up to around 1.5 metres tall in favourable conditions.
There are variations in the flower colour of the more common variety, namely, Variable Five Corners (Styphelia laeta), which was just coming out into flower.
The flower can be a bright creamy colour, tending towards pink as it becomes older.
This shrub will grow in the open forest as well as woodland heath, in sandstone soils or sandy clay. The flowering period is usually from March to July, sometimes extending into early spring.
There are two related red and pink varieties that are not as common but can be found in a similar habitat. One is (Styphelia triflora) Pink Five Corners. The other being (Styphelia tubiflora) Red Five Corners.
These plants derive their name from the five stamens that extend beyond the tubular flower which can be around 35 mm in length. They have stiff stems with lance-shaped or triangular leaves up to 25mm long.
The fruit of both varieties is said to be edible.
When walking in the bush it is sometimes easy to miss some of these smaller plants that may at times be obscured by taller more vigorous growing shrubs. Some of the most intricately formed native flowers can be located in amongst bushy undergrowth at or near ground level.
The Centre periodically conducts workshops that introduce people to the diversity of Australian wildflowers as well as giving the opportunity to participate in the guided walk along the track in bushland adjacent to the Centre.