I found this mallee at Lowan Conservation Park when we visited there a couple of months ago. It is a frost hardy and drought tolerant plant.
It is often cultivated because of its ability to grow on a range of sites in dry areas, including shallow limestone. It has a moderate growth rate and flowers at an early age. Its height ranges from 2 to 8 metres. Here it seems to be about 5 metres tall with a lovely wide canopy of foliage, making it a nice shade tree.
This particular Correa grows widely in the Mallee region. We found it a few weeks ago at Lowan Conservation Park. It was looking a little stressed because of the dry winter but these plants seem to have a mechanism that enables them to shut down when stressed.
‘The Mallee’ is a term covering several scenarios. The Mallee is a term used to describe areas of the country which are covered in mainly Eucalypts of the mallee type. A feature, and this is what I love, is the variety of smaller plants forming the understory. These plants are often prolific and very colourful flowering plants.
We talk about Mallee towns being those towns, usually in farming communities, which exist because of the mallee areas being cleared for farming.
The photos show parts of Lowan Conservation Park including the access track through the park.
A plant that I admire but treat with great caution is Spinifex, Triodia scariosa (used to be called Triodia irritans). Just getting the photos was a hazard. Backing into one of these is a painful experience. It is the dome shape that I like and when in flower it is attractive. Even these with the seed heads were good to look at.
They are amazing plants. Bush creatures find them a welcome refuge. Even Brer Rabbit would not have wanted Brer Fox to throw him into these. We saw a small spiny dragon lizard scuttle into one as we drove along the track at Lowan Conservation park. As the plants become older, the centre dies out and we have seen kangaroos resting in the middle of large clumps of spinifex.
I just checked one of my reference books. It appears that I should be calling this Porcupine Grass, as the coastal plant is Spinifex sericeus.
Most of the Eucalypts at Lowan Conservation Park are the mallee, Eucalyptus socialis. I found a good specimen to photograph. I wanted to gather an album of local Eucalypts.
The mallees are great survivors. When top branches are chopped down, or blown down, or burnt by bush fires, they shoot again from buds in the stump, called a lignotuber. The trees can look dead and be covered in new shoots within weeks.