Spectacular Season for Waratahs

Hazard reduction backburns in recent years and significant winter rain have combined to make the native wildflower season spectacular.

Waratahs in particular, are flourishing, with these large, vibrant red flowers dotted everywhere around our local bushland. Several local residents have also mastered the tricky art of successfully planting them in their garden which also look brilliant at the moment in our residential areas.

NPWS personnel have been progressively going around splashing organic blue paint on the waratahs which is an effective protective measure that takes away their commercial value and reduces the risk of the flowers being illegally harvested and sold. Of course, the paint causes no harm to the flower or plant. Waratahs can only be bought from licensed growers in NSW. Legally saleable native plants or flowers will have an obvious tag. In NSW it is an offence to pick or have in your possession a protected native plant.

It is also an offence to sell protected native plants without a licence. The maximum penalty is $11,000 (plus $1,100 for each additional plant), or 6 months imprisonment, or both.

The consequences of picking any wildflower can cause irreparable damage and prevent the plant from reproducing.

If you do see a waratah in the bush (or any native plant of interest) it is best to look and photograph it from the walking track. There are concerns with a lot of badly damaged undergrowth in the bush caused by people enthusiastically stomping up to the waratah plant for a photo.

Please enjoy the bushland this spring but be aware of your surroundings and be careful not to damage the bushland by stepping off the track. If you would like to catch the blooming waratahs, be quick as they are only out for a limited period of time.

– Hornsby Councillor Nathan Tilbury