Strzelecki Outback Tour
4 to 22 September 2010
botanical highlights
Note: Happy to be corrected on plant identification.


Some notes on the botanical highlights seen on tour

After a decade long drought the skies finally opened and the landscape responded accordingly. We were in an outback bedecked with flowers.

In South Australia the swainsonas were the best for at least twenty years. The spectacular orange darling pea Swainsona stipularis var. stipularis along the Strzelecki Track intermingled and contrasted with the purple variety. The purple peas were thick in Sturt National Park and the sand ridges of the Bulloo Overflow.

Pop saltbush Atriplex holocarpa was a mass of soft pink about the Overflow.

Bluebush Maireana spp. with their ripening ruby-red seedheads were dotted around Lyndhurst and north of Morgan.

Egg and bacon peas (various genera) were in full bloom in the burnt mallee heath at Ngarkat CP; unsure of genera – possibly Pultenaea spp. and Daviesia spp.

Dull olive spikes of spinifex at Pink Lakes were festooned with the bright yellow flowers of the yam daisies Microseris lanceolata growing up through it.

The bold black and red contrast of the iconic Sturt’s desert pea Swainsona formosa was abundantly evident in Sturt National Park.

As thick as I have ever seen it, the sandhill country west of Cameron Corner was carpeted in regal birdflower Crotalaria cunninghamii. The yellow senecio, which in some years covers the sand dunes, was only represented by a scattering — perhaps the rains came at an inopportune time for germination. Other species in prominence on the dunes included white fox tail Ptilotus latifolius and a yellow and purple pea I am yet to identify.

Around Cobar the eremophilas, notably the twin-leaf emu-bush Eremophila oppositifolia and green emubush Eremophila serrulata were laden with flowers. Further north the crimson turkeybush Eremophila latrobei was flowering; unfortunately goats had damaged many bushes.

About Cunnamulla and Thargomindah we had the ‘blue’ eremophilas blooming. I believe these included the green turkeybush Eremophila gilesii, purple fushia bush Eremophila goodwinii and silver turkeybush Eremophila bowmanii. Fields of goodenias tinted yellow the landscape about Thargomindah

In the mallee of Nombinnie NR north of Hillston and at Billiatt CP in South Australia the bright faces of azure daisy bush Olearia rudis were in abundance. This species responds to rain following a fire, so Billiatt CP with its control burn a few years ago made for ideal conditions. At Nombinnie NR there wa a cornucopia of beautiful tear-drop flowers of the cactus pea Bossiaea walkeri.

Again in the mallee, a display of green spider orchid Caladenia dilatata and various other greenhood orchids.

We were privileged to a botanical wonderland in the outback.

These notes will be added to as we identify further plant species. Photos will also be added soon. 

Philip Maher

More photos of vegetation and landscapes on this tour
Photos of some of the birds seen on this tour
Photos of some mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects seen on this tourStrzelecki 2010 checklist of species seen
Strzelecki 2010 trip report

AOS YouTube Channel: cormorants, inland dotterel, red kangaroo

2011 Strzelecki outback tour itinerary

Several trip reports and checklists from previous Strzelecki outback tours on the trip report page of the website.

Eremophila gilesii

Eremophila bowmanii possibly supspecies latifolia
Olearia rudis
Swainsona stipularis var. stipularis
Bulloo Overflow Darling pea & Crotalaria eremea ssp. eremaea
Pop saltbush Atriplex holocarpa
Bluebush Maireana spp.
white fox tail Ptilotus latifolius
yellow and purple pea (unidentified as yet)
Eremophila oppositifolia around Cobar
not yet identified
green spider orchid Caladenia dilatata
more photos from the 2010 Strzelecki Track outback tour are being being added daily
Vegetation 1
Vegetation 2
Mammals, reptiles and amphibians and insects
Checklist of species seen